Donald Trump announces ban on transgender people serving in military
“Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” Donald Trump tweeted last June. Once again, he’s proven to be a liar.
Trump has taken to Twitter with yet another vile rant. This time, he’s announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump writes. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Ash Carter, defense secretary under President Obama, issued a directive in 2016 that permitted transgender troops to serve openly in the military. Under the old rule, they could not openly serve, reminiscent of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that plagued gay troops. Carter’s directive was to be phased in over a one-year period, with full implementation starting July 1, 2017. At the time of his directive, the U.S. Military did not have a precise count of how many transgender troops were serving because they faced discharge if they revealed their identities.
“With the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and the elimination of the combat exclusion rule on women, today’s historic step to end transgender discrimination completes the Obama administration’s successful effort to strengthen our armed forces by ensuring that service is based on people’s merit and not their personal identity,” Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a LGBT research institute based in San Francisco told the L.A. Times last year, after the decision.
So much for that. Trump’s defense secretary, retired Gen. Jim Mattis delayed the implementation of the plan and the Washington Post reports that today’s Trump rant comes “one day before the deadline for the military to update its medical standards to accommodate transgender service members.”
Is this the step backward we really want to take? Of course it’s not — but this administration is hell bent on shoving us back into the dark ages. Republicans are targeting an overblown notion of “cost” to discriminate against an entire group of people. They paint their concern as a fiscal one; they don’t want to pay for the costs of gender reassignment surgery in troops. But a study commissioned by the Pentagon showed potential hormone treatments and surgeries would only raise U.S. military healthcare costs by 0.13%. “Only a small portion of service members would likely seek gender transition-related medical treatments that would affect their deployability or healthcare costs,” said Agnes Gereben Schaefer, lead author of the study and a senior political scientist at RAND.
“For the past year, transgender troops have been serving openly and have been widely praised by their Commanders, as is the case in 18 allied militaries around the world including Israel and Britain,” Belkin said in a statement last month after Defense Secretary Mattis hinted to drawing back allowances for transgender troops in the military. “Yet members of Congress are denigrating the value of military service by transgender troops, and Service Chiefs are pressuring Secretary Mattis to continue the transgender enlistment ban despite having no new arguments or data to back up their long-discredited assertions.”