Fake News Site Connected to Russian Government Refers to Transgender Soldiers as ‘Tranny Troops’

Fake News Site Connected to Russian Government Refers to Transgender Soldiers as ‘Tranny Troops’

A news outlet connected to the Russian government has referred to trans members of the U.S. military using a transphobic slur.

The day before transgender people were allowed to enlist openly in the armed forces for the first time, the website Sputnik News referred to them as “tranny troops” a headline. The site posted an article titled “Tranny Troops: U.S. Military to Accept Transgender Recruits Beginning 2018” on Dec. 31.

“Tranny” is widely regarded as an offensive and derogatory term among members of the LGBTQ community, comparable to the word “faggot” for gay men.

Even more so, the word is a reminder of the disproportionate and often deadly violence to which trans and gender nonconforming individualsparticularly transgender womenare subjected. Trans people are more likely than any other segment of the U.S. population to be victims of a hate crime and are frequently referred to by that term during the assault.

The article itself isn’t an outright attack on trans enlistment, although a telling editorial choice betrays the outlet’s anti-LGBTQ bias.

Sputnik News refers to the Pentagon’s decision to comply with numerous court orders blocking President Trump’s transgender ban as a “capitulation.” In truth, the White House attempted several times to enforce the Commander-in-Chief’s proposed policy, which was first announced in a series of July tweets. The plan, however, was blocked in federal court four timeswith the administration losing each time.

After an emergency request to delay the January 2018 start date was denied, the administration said it would stop appealing the decisions.

“The Department of Defense has announced that it will be releasing an independent study of these issues in the coming weeks,” an anonymous official within the administration claimed in a statement. “So rather than litigate this interim appeal before that occurs, the administration has decided to wait for DOD’s study and will continue to defend the president’s lawful authority in District Court in the meantime.”

The president had previously ordered Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis to issue an implementation strategy putting the plan into effect by March 23.

A headline insulting transgender people, though, is unsurprising given the source of the article. Sputnik operates under the direct control of the Kremlin and the media organization was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last year to determine whether it had been disseminating Russian propaganda.

The website is known to publish fake news and conspiracy theories.

Sputnik’s bosses are no friend to the LGBTQ community, particularly trans people. The Kremlin banned transgender Russians from driving in 2015 as “part of a crackdown on people with mental health issues,” as The Independent reported. The government claimed trans people suffer from a “disorder,” making them ineligible for driver’s licenses.

The architect of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, Vitaly Milonov, proposed outing transgender travelers to the country in a 2017 interview with the newspaper Parlamentskaya Gazeta.


Nico Lang

Nico Lang is a staff writer for INTO, covering news, politics, and global LGBTQ issues.