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Trump Decrees On Twitter That Transgender People Are Now Banned From Military Service

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Trump Decrees On Twitter That Transgender People Are Now Banned From Military Service

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A participant holds a rainbow coloured placard during Delhi Queer Pride Parade, an event promoting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, in New Delhi November 30, 2014. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

President Donald Trump announced via Twitter on Wednesday morning that transgender people are banned from serving in the U.S. military.

According to a 2016 study by the Rand Corporation commissioned by the Department of Defense, there are about 11,000 transgender people in active duty and the reserves. Despite Trump’s claim that transgender people are a “burden” to the military, the Rand study found that allowing transgender people to serve openly “would have a minimal impact on readiness and health care costs.”

The study estimated about 30 to 140 hormone treatments per year in the military along with an estimated 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries for those in active service. The cost of these medical procedures, the study found, could range from $2.4 million to $8.4 million, which the study said would be “an exceedingly small proportion of total healthcare expenditures.”

Trump’s announcement has drawn criticism from a number of LGBT-rights and civil rights organizations, including the ACLU. A number of politicians have also come out against Trump’s ban. California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu said in a statement that Trump’s exclusion of transgender people in the military is “based on naked bigotry,” not facts.

“I know because I served on active duty,” Lieu said. “The military doesn’t care what your sexual orientation or identity is, or who you love. It cares about whether you can shoot straight and complete the mission. The president’s discriminatory decision harms our military readiness for our volunteer-based military. Thousands of transgender Americans are already in the military. Why? Because they are qualified, patriotic and willing to die for their country. There is zero evidence a transgender sniper would be any less qualified than a gay sniper or a straight sniper. Today is a sad day for America.”

Trump’s announcement reverses a policy introduced during the Obama administration and approved by the Defense Department that would allow transgender people to openly serve in the military. Implementation of the policy, which was still under final review, was delayed by Secretary of Defense James Mattis last month. The delay, requested by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would last six months with a review due by December showcasing how allowing transgender people to serve in the military “would affect the military’s lethality,” according to the Washington Post.

Mattis said in a memo about the decision that the six-month delay “in no way presupposes an outcome,” but that more time was needed to finalize a decision.

“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 stated in the memo. “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 announcement marks another blow against the transgender community. In February, the Trump administration reversed another Obama-era guideline instructing public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Upon revoking the directive, Trump invoked states’ rights and said public schools should be able to establish their own decisions regarding the issue.

Celisa Calacal is a junior writing fellow for AlterNet. She is a senior journalism major and legal studies minor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Previously she worked at ThinkProgress and served as an editor for Ithaca College’s student newspaper. Follow her at @celisa_mia.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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8 Comments

  1. Erinjarmstrong July 27, 2017

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    Reply
  2. 1standlastword July 27, 2017

    Tuesday I heard members of the Chaldean Christian community voicing their regret and feelings of betrayal after giving their support to Trump; Wednesday led to Thursday and today I hear members of the military decry their feelings of betrayal and regrets for believing Trump loved them for their service (the creepy Trump was featured up on the campaign podium waving a pride flag “LGBTQ is loving Trump”)

    How long before the 20 to 35% Trump-bots start regretting the Lard Ass Liar Commander in Chief of Bull$hit!?

    Reply
    1. FireBaron July 27, 2017

      I am surprised they haven’t already, as every action he has taken will make their lives more miserable.

      I really hate to say this, but at this point even I miss Dubya!

      Reply
      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 27, 2017

        Isn’t it strange that Trump alone has made us forget the flaws of the Bushes and others.

        Reply
  3. Independent1 July 27, 2017

    Rather than express my opinion on Trump’s fraudulent tweet about banning Transgender people from our military (he flat out lied about consulting with our generals beforehand); I’ll post some excerpts from a Washington Post article written by a right-leaning columnist – Jennifer Rubin. Jennifer’s opinion is probably even harsher than what I might say – she not only calls Trump a liar; she says Trump is unfit to lead America’s military.

    Here are some excerpts from Jennifer Rubin’s article which makes it clear that even many Republicans (including many in Congress and those leading our military) do not support Trump on banning transgender people from serving in our military:

    Trump demonstrates he is unfit to lead our troops

    The act was among the most cynical and irresponsible of his presidency, designed to save the president from his own scandals. Never have we seen a president provoke such chaos in the military, acting with no regard for the welfare of the troops or the security of the nation, with no military justification whatsoever. The immediate trigger seems to have been a hangup in funding for his useless wall unless right-wingers got to eliminate funding for gender reassignment surgeries from the defense budget; Trump impulsively responded — going well beyond the surgery issue to a complete ban. (Did he even know the military had a review process underway? Did the Freedom Caucus really pose a threat to a defense bill including funding for the wall? )

    The irony is great. Trump used military readiness as an excuse to drum up vitriol, but it is his own action that distracts from military readiness, morale and focus on defeating the enemy.

    As President Trump rolled out his decision to reinstate the ban on transgender people in the military, anonymous White House officials gossiped about what a tough spot they were putting Democrats in. “This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states
    like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin to take complete ownership of this issue,” one told Axios. Another added that it would “be fun to watch some of them have to defend” having transgender soldiers. It turns out they didn’t even need Democrats to do it; some high-profile Republicans were happy to. Far from getting advice from military leaders to take this abrupt action, Trump blindsided them — and the entire military. Not just coincidentally, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was on vacation when Trump
    made his announcement. So, yes, again Trump lied.

    Trump’s selfish motivation was obvious. In hot water with the right wing and seeing the special prosecutor hot on his trail in the Russia-collusion/obstruction-of-justice investigation, he decided to appeal to the worst instincts and prejudices of his socially
    conservative base. What a sorry comment on the outlook of these voters that Trump had to appeal to fear, prejudice and ignorance to gain the applause of his base. And boy does Trump know his audience.

    The incident reminds us that Trump’s impulsiveness and self-absorption make him incapable of thinking beyond his self-interest. He would disrupt our military, create havoc among active service personnel and their families, and lie that this was all the military’s idea — just to create another issue to distract from his political woes. The good news is that the ploy demonstrated the degree to which this sort of culture-war stunt has lost its potency; Trump and his cultist followers may be stuck in a time warp, but the rest of the country has moved on.

    The incident is a reminder that Trump has no clue as to the awesome responsibilities of the presidency. His GOP enablers need to stop this outrageous stunt in its tracks — or lose any claim to be defenders of our military.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/07/27/trump-demonstrates-he-is-unfit-to-lead-our-troops/?utm_term=.99beda11fcc2&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 27, 2017

      Excellent summation—thanks for the excerpts. What a pathetic creature.

      Reply
  4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 27, 2017

    The Groper-in-Chief complained about a heel to avoid service, and now he complains about the amount of money required to provide medical services for LGBT members serving in the military.
    At least none of them faked an excuse like Donald, or Donald’s paternal grandfather. Nor does the money to address the LGBT’s special needs makes a dent in what Trump charges the country to ferry him and his family for his weekly pleasure jaunts between DC and Florida, or DC to NYC and back.

    Reply
  5. Aaron_of_Portsmouth July 27, 2017

    The Groper-in-Chief complained about a heel to avoid service, and now he complains about the amount of money required to provide medical services for LGBT members serving in the military.
    At least none of them faked an excuse like Donald, or Donald’s paternal grandfather. Nor does the money to address the LGBT’s special needs makes a dent in what Trump charges the country to ferry him and his family for his weekly pleasure jaunts between DC and Florida, or DC to NYC and back.

    Reply

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