Throughout history, segregation, discrimination and prejudice have proceeded hand-in-glove with justifications. Some of those justifications even appear, sometimes, to be well thought out. African Americans, Hispanics and Orientals faced segregated troop assignments up to and through the Korean Conflict. Soldiers — women and those in the LGBTQ community — are still facing discrimination.

Now Trump is using the same tired arguments to propose barring transgender soldiers from military service altogether. Even when allowed to enlist and serve, people of color, women and LGBTQ soldiers were and often still are relegated to combat support positions such as cooks or quartermasters. The tired cliche that “combat” troops are “unsettled” by people of color, women, and LGBTQ soldiers just doesn’t hold water in this modern age. That outdated thinking would yield a homogeneous white male troop demographic only, were it allowed to dictate policy.

Do not be fooled into thinking these overused justifications are new, logical or necessary. They are camouflage for discrimination first, foremost, and fundamentally. These people, these transgender people, are soldiers who have and will fight for this country, and they will feel a lot better about their sacrifices if they know this country has the courage to have their backs, like we would for any soldier willing to die for our country.

Oh, for those who trot out the $8.4 million spent annually for health services for transgender soldiers, consider how Trump could easily offset that rather minuscule bill by simply foregoing three trips to Mar A Largo. Let us show our respect, our admiration and our gratitude to our American soldiers, every honorable one of them.

— Darren Underwood, Ottawa