In true Trump fashion, the president tweeted recently about his intention to ban transgender people from serving in the military. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that this didn’t go over very well!
Trump argued that “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.”
Trump’s latest controversial tweet ironically comes exactly 69 years after President Harry Truman declared racial integration in the military. The Obama Administration had also announced last year that it would begin undoing the ban on trans people openly serving.
Unsurprisingly, people were not happy with Trump’s Twitter statement. One user replied, saying, “I am a #transveteran. I served my country. I deployed to Afghanistan. You are a continuously disappointing leader. You, Sir, are failing.”
Not to mention, Trump’s assertion that the military would be burdened by trans people is totally unfounded. In fact, examples of other countries that allow trans people in the military, including Israel, Canada or the UK, show that allowing trans people to serve has little to no effect on military spending or capability.
Discrimination against trans people in the military is largely based on outdated reasoning. For example, the concern that a trans person’s gender dysphoria would interfere with their ability to serve in the military, given that it can lead to mental illnesses.
But when it comes down to it, banning trans people from serving in the military won’t really stop them from serving: it’ll just force them to hide their identities. Isn’t that more mentally damaging than just letting someone be who they are?
However, almost immediately after Trump tweeted his intention to ban transgender people in the military, US Joint Chiefs of Staff reportedly announced to the military that there would be no changes in the policy on trans service members until they receive “official guidance” from the president.
Even some Republican lawmakers expressed their disapproval for Trump’s tweets. Sen. John McCain said in a statement that, “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military - regardless of their gender identity.”
Furthermore, banning transgender people from serving may even incur more costs in the long run. After all, the military has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on current troops in recruiting, training and equipping. Should they be implemented, Trump’s plans would undermine any real saving that would happen with getting rid of medical costs for trans people.
No one knows whether Trump will actually follow through with his plans to ban transgender people from serving in the military, which is good news for right now. A move that drastic would require the White House and the Department of Defense to work together in order to come to an agreement.
In fact, Trump’s intention to ban trans people is incredibly unclear, and really leaves us with more questions than answers: For example, how would he plan to find every single transgender person who has been serving in the military? Wouldn’t that require an expensive witch hunt involving a whole bunch of invasive questions?
This is just the latest in a string of Trump letdowns to the LGBTQ community that he promised to fight for during the election.
Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan said, “Anyone willing to put on the uniform of the United States and risk their life in service to our country should be celebrated as patriots, regardless of their gender identity.”