Trump Claims US Military Can’t Be ‘Burdened’ by Trans People

In a string of tweets published†on Wednesday, July 26, President Donald Trump announced a major†rollback of open service for transgender military personnel — a policy initially established†under the Obama administration. President Trump’s†decision to deny transgender people from serving in the military is one that civil rights advocates, including†the†Care2 community, will not accept.

In what may be a first, this significant†change to military rules was announced not through official channels, but in a series of three tweets. Taking only a momentary pause from blasting Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump announced:

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. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [sic] in the military would entail. Thank you.

The fact that official military policy would be announced by the president via social media is, quite frankly, unbelievable. But that point†aside, the message†lacks any sense of reality.

After all, transgender people already serve in the military. More than†15,000 trans people are estimated to serve across all branches of the military today, and an additional†134,000 veterans identify as trans.

To suggest, as President Trump does, that trans service in the military is a new concept†is entirely false.

President Trump likely references the Obama administration’s work with the Joint Chiefs to dismantle the ban on open trans military service. Though similar in substance to the legislative “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell“†policy that banned openly gay recruits, this measure actually existed in military regulations — and, therefore, did not require legislative action.

A point of contention for a handful of Republican lawmakers has been the fact that Obama’s policies cover gender transition-related care for trans personnel who are already serving. But it shouldn’t be a sticking point.

Explicitly detailed military rules state that†the Army must take care of its servicemembers’ mental and physical health. Transition-related care is not elective. It is necessary for those who need it to live gender-aligned. As such, the Army must fulfill its duty to these trans servicemembers.

And in terms of President Trump’s supposed financial concerns, there are no “tremendous medical costs”.

A “New England Journal of Medicine” study from 2015 — when this issue first began to gain traction — examined†the costs of transition-related care. Costs came out to as little as 22 cents per service member per month, or $5.6 million annually.

Furthermore, a good proportion of trans people do not undergo the full raft of surgeries that might be available, meaning that these costs could be lower.

In any case, the military budget for fiscal year 2018 stands at $824.7 billion†under current figures. This expense would be but a blip. Other analyses†have also confirmed that the military can easily absorb any of these costs.

The impact of accommodating trans personnel is also†negligible. For example, a RAND analysis estimates:

10 to 130 active component members each year could have reduced deployability as a result of gender transition-related treatments. This amount is negligible relative to the 102,500 nondeployable soldiers in the Army alone in 2015, 50,000 of them in the active component.

As such, President Trump’s position is entirely wrongheaded, as well as unjust. But it†hasn’t emerged†from†thin air.

The Obama era policy to†accept new trans recruits was supposed to begin on July 1, but military officials announced that enforcement would†be†delayed†– supposedly in order to give the military yet more time to work out logistics.

At the time, LGBT†rights groups†were not happy about this news, especially given that religious conservatives continue to†fight to defund and block all trans involvement in the military.

This latest action by Trump is, therefore, nothing more than an appeasement to that minority of lawmakers on the far Right.

National Center for Transgender Rights Director Mara Keisling issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s announcement:

This is worse than donít ask donít tell, this is donít serve, donít serve. This is an appalling attack on our service members; it is about bigotry rather than military readiness, reason or science. It is indefensible and cannot stand. The President wants to discard thousands of trained and skilled troops who are already serving honorably and done nothing but be honest about who they are. To turn away qualified recruits simply because of who they are is a shameful way to show our country’s gratitude to the people who serve our country.

We cannot accept this attempt to deny the service of trans personnel.

Take Action!

Demand that President Trump and the military restore full trans service in the military by signing†this†Care2 petition. It is a disgrace that a sitting president would disregard the vital contributions of the LGBTQ†community to our country.

Photo Credit: Program Executive Office Soldier/Flickr

87 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 months ago

Taxpayer funds should NOT pay for sex change surgeries!

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s3 months ago

Pitiful

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Ian C
Ian Crory3 months ago

ruh

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Jeramie D
Jeramie D3 months ago

Why do we have to be burdened by tRump???

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE4 months ago

Okay

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Cindy M. D
Cindy M. Dutka4 months ago

Actually, it's our nation that can't be burdened by tRUMP...

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Carl R
Carl R4 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Janet B
Janet B4 months ago

Thanks

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Amanda M
Amanda M4 months ago

Petition signed! Trans people are NOT "diseased," "mental," or any other derogatory term-they are people who were quite literally born in the wrong body, and modern treatments rectify that problem while allowing them to live rich, full lives with their outsides matching their insides. They are NOT a burden on society or the military-baseless, willfully ignorant bigotry against them IS a problem and SHOULD be cured. This is the 21st century, we should be able to recognize people as being just that-PEOPLE.

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Jetana A
Jetana A4 months ago

Petition already signed.

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