When we talk about trans folks in the military, Corporal Klinger is NOT your best option. He’s a beloved character true, but as LGBTQ Nation said in a recent post,
Maybe it’s a bit ‘Milkshake Duck’ here, but if you are comparing Klinger to trans people, you may be implying either subterfuge or insanity. You are equating trans people with being “men in dresses” who are trying to be deceptive and have a mental disorder.
Klinger was a character initially written as a man who did NOT want to be in the army. He was continually pulling stunts to get a Section 8 discharge, which while is no longer in use, was for soldiers deemed mentally unfit for duty. Klinger was created supposedly after M.A.S.H. writers heard stories of Lenny Bruce cross-dressing to dodge service.
The long-running cross-dressing is played as a joke, with Klinger usually the butt. Some see Klinger as a subversive character “getting away” with cross-gender presentation.
But Klinger was one of the few glimmers of trans ANYTHING on TV in the 1970s, along with Jodie Dallas on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
There were allies who meant well, I suppose, but honestly there are real trans troops out there, let’s show them some respect. Give the Klinger memes a rest.