President Trump has decided that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the United States military.
Trump made the announcement Wednesday morning, via Twitter, explaining that he reached the decision after consulting with “generals and military experts.” After discussing the topic with this anonymous panel, the President declared “that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”
He further explained that the military must concentrate on “decisive and overwhelming victory,” rather than “the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
Reversal Of Obama-Approved Policy
This decision to ban transgender people from the military reverses a policy previously approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama. This policy would have allowed transgender people to serve openly. Ashton B. Carter, Defense Secretary under Obama, had said there would be a year-long review process to let the Pentagon determine how it would accept transgender recruits.
Trump’s latest tweets come after his Defense Secretary, James Mattis, announced last month, on the eve of this one-year deadline, that he would be delaying the implementation of the Obama-era plan to allow transgender individuals into the military.
Read Mattis’ statement here:
Since becoming the Secretary of Defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: will the decision affect the readiness and lethality of the force? Put another way, how will the decision affect the ability of America's military to defend the nation? It is against this standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender individuals into the military Services.
A Rand Corps. study commissioned by the Defense Department last year found, despite the President’s concerns, that allowing transgender individuals to openly serve would have “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, estimating that “less than 0.1 percent of the total force would seek transition-related care that could disrupt their ability to deploy.” Furthermore, the study found that policy changes to open more roles to women and members of the LGBT community have had “no significant effect” on “operational effectiveness” or “unit cohesion.”
Setbacks For The LGBT Community
This military ban is not the first time Trump has cut back recent progress made by the LGBT community. Though as a candidate, he mostly avoided issues related to LGBT rights, his administration has made dents in a number of protections, particularly for transgender schoolchildren, after reversing another Obama policy that would allow them to use the bathroom of their choice. Additionally, the White House did not recognize LGBT pride month in June.
Long-time gay rights advocate Richard Socarides, who had previously advised Bill Clinton on gay men and lesbians serving in the military, called Trump’s decision “a tragic betrayal of all LGBT Americans and a shameful effort to win over social conservatives at the expense of the vulnerable.”
Trump Tweets Cause Twitter Backlash
Trump's decision to ban transgender people from the military was immediately met with overwhelming backlash, even inspiring the trending hashtag: #TransRightsAreHumanRights.
Government sanctioned discrimination is terrifying on so many levels #transrightsarehumanrights Who will be next on the hit list?— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) July 26, 2017
Banning some of our most courageous citizens from our military? Way to cripple us, Tr*mp. #TransRightsAreHumanRights— Ben Platt (@BenSPLATT) July 26, 2017
.@realDonaldTrump can pretend this is a military decision, but it isn't. Banning troops on gender identity is shameful & makes us less safe.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 26, 2017