James Charles responds to backlash over "transphobic" military draft tweet

6 January 2020, 12:19

"Just to clarify, this tweet has nothing to do with the trans military ban," said James in a tweet.

Last week (3 Feb), Twitter erupted in memes about a possible World War 3 and being drafted into the military, following the US airstrike that killed top Iranian official, Qasem Soleimani.

Despite racking up millions of likes and RTs, many people called out the tweets for making light of a serious situation that could see millions of innocent lives lost.

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YouTuber James Charles was among those who made a joke about dressing as a woman to avoid being drafted, but he was soon called out by several Twitter users who took his tweet as a joke that made light of the transgender military ban.

For those not in the know, there is currently a ban on trans people serving in the US military. Restrictions, officially enforced in April 2019, were put in place by Donald Trump and the US government, reversing a 2016 policy.

Now, per BuzzFeed News' report, "new recruits will be rejected if they’ve undergone a gender transition, that they cannot transition while in service, and they they must conform to the uniform and fitness standards of their birth sex."

RuPaul's Drag Race star Jaremi Carey, a.k.a. Phi Phi O'Hara, was among those who called out James for his tweet, writing: "Not cute James. Some trans men and women would love to be able to serve their country...and this just a pathetic joke for clout with some brushed out photos at the expense of our trans community."

One user quote tweeted James' meme and wrote: "A cis male using the trans military ban as a joke just doesn’t sit right with me at all..." while another said: "Femme presentation may be playtime for you, but it isn't for me. Spare a thought for the trans women who engage w society *as women* (as far as we're permitted, anyway) & can't just take it off & carry on w male privilege. Do drag, have fun. Don't make light of my fucking life."

Following the backlash to his tweet, James issued a clarification about his intentions, which he said were in no way meant to mock or make light of trans people or the military ban.

Replying to his own tweet, James wrote: "just to clarify, this tweet has nothing to do with the trans military ban, which I obviously do not support. it’s a lighthearted joke regarding the fact that I had to register for the draft when I turned 18, just like every other boy, & i don’t wanna fight in a war. that’s all."