President Announces Transgender Military Ban
President Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to announce reinstating a ban against transgender people serving in military.
The ban will forbid transgender people from serving “in any capacity” in the military. Trump had this to say, via Twitter.
“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 went on to say, “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.”
In 2016, Ash Carter, the Defense secretary under Obama, ended the ban on transgender people openly serving. However he allowed a year-long review process for the Pentagon to determine how it would accept new transgender recruits into the military. Then, Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last month that he was delaying enactment of the plan to begin allowing transgender individuals to join the US military.
“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?” Mattis said at the time.
“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.”
Trump’s decision marks another setback for the LGBT community who have questioned his openness since his election. Specifically this is the second setback in months for the trans community who have also seen Trump reverse Obama’s bathroom policy for transgender students. This is despite Trump claiming during his campaign that he would be the greatest president for the LGBT community.
While the decision is sure to be challenged, that fact does little to comfort the nearly 15,000 transgender people currently serving in the U.S. military.
Based on statements from Trump and Mattis, both seem to question transgender people’s ability to perform as well as their cisgender counterparts. A sentiment which will surely create an environment unsafe not only for transgender people, but their fellow soldiers as well.