American citizens have continued to move further away from President Donald Trump after his polarizing decision to ban transgender people from the military.
On the morning of July 26, Trump sent out a series of tweets announcing that transgender people will now be unable to join the military. Trump stated the reason for the ban is because, “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.” This decision is the reversal of a policy that former President Barack Obama approved and was under its final review.
According to the RAND Corporation, which gathers research having to do with the U.S. military, the medical costs of transgender people in the military would just be a small part of the total military spending budget. RAND states that the medical costs for transgender people would be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million which is just a fraction of the $521.7 billion dollar budget that the U.S. military had last year. RAND also estimates that there are approximately 2,500 transgender service members currently in the military.
The fact that transgender people will no longer have the freedom to fight for our country’s freedom is unpatriotic and goes against freedom which is one of the core values of being an American. If a transgender person wants to take part in the military, then he or she should be able to join without any laws preventing it just because of who he or she is.
Many former military people and LGBTQ+ ally groups have criticized Trump’s decision. Jennifer Levi, the attorney of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said, “Any special or different rule for transgender soldiers is discrimination. Plain and simple It harms the military, and therefore the safety of the nation.”
This past Monday several former members of the military filed a lawsuit against President Trump. Peter Renn, the Lambda Legal senior attorney said, “Thousands of current service members are transgender, and many have been serving openly and successfully in the U.S. military for more than a year–not to mention the previous decades when many were forced to serve in silence.” On top of this, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a separate lawsuit and states, “The Trump administration has provided no evidence that this pronouncement was based on an analysis of the actual cost and disruption allegedly caused by allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly.”
These statement have a lot of merit because when the numbers are looked at closely, the cost of what a transgender person’s needs is much less than most of the military costs. For someone who told the LGBTQ+ community in 2016, “I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people who will threaten your freedom and beliefs,” it is still a mystery how exactly Trump is fighting for them.
Despite the backlash from many groups, there is still many who support the ban. The two main arguments for those who support the new ban is that it is too costly and people who are transgender can’t handle the stress of being in the military. Yes, the military is a stressful environment but the gender you are won’t make the military any more or less stressful. Transgender people have fought in the military before and afterward received medals and honors for their time in the military. Are we now just supposed to pretend that didn’t happen and all of a sudden transgender people “can’t handle the environment”?
This decision from President Donald Trump is just another opportunity to rip apart someone’s rights and hide the real motive with excuses.
Colby Dudal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org