In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced a cruel and dangerous reversal in policy on transgender individuals serving in the military.
Claiming that “[o]ur military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory,” Trump falsely suggested that transgender people were too costly and disruptive to continue serving.
The announcement came as a surprise to everyone, including, it seems, the Pentagon.
Trump’s assertion that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military created a storm of controversy, possibly an intentional one designed to distract Americans from the ongoing issues of ethical conflicts, criminal and counter-intelligence investigations, his failures on health reform, immigration, job creation and economic prosperity, and national security.
The next day, Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified documents, stopped by the White House and posted a selfie with the building in the background.
“There is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service. Transgender individuals are serving their country with honor, and they should be allowed to continue doing so,” said David O. Barbe, M.D., president of the American Medical Association.
“AMA policy also supports public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender dysphoria as recommended by the patient’s physician,” Barbe said. “According to the Rand study on the impact of transgender individuals in the military, the financial cost is a rounding error in the defense budget and should not be used as an excuse to deny patriotic Americans an opportunity to serve their country. We should be honoring their service – not trying to end it.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) blasted Trump’s dangerous and unpatriotic move to reinstate a ban on qualified transgender people serving in the military, saying his reprehensible action could result in the discharge of more than 15,000 transgender Americans currently serving our country at this critical time.
“Donald Trump has proven himself as unpatriotic as he is unfit to serve as Commander in Chief. He has put a target on the backs of the more than 15,000 transgender troops proudly serving in our military,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This heinous and disgusting action endangers the lives of American service members, undermines military readiness and makes our country less safe. It is also the latest effort by Trump and Mike Pence to undo our progress and drag LGBTQ people back into the closet by using our lives as political pawns.”
According to one administration official, the policy reversal is a blatant political maneuver designed to appeal to the most radical of Trump’s base, without consideration of how it will undermine military morale and readiness.
The administration official confirmed, “This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states response when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?”
The Trump administration is also expected to attack the LGBTQ community on another front. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is said to be preparing to file a legal brief seeking to undermine a growing legal consensus that LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It would reverse former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s assertion that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is prohibited under Title VII.
As a result, DOJ could stop enforcing civil rights laws on behalf of LGBTQ people, a move that could have dangerous influence on federal court cases across the country.
According to the Williams Institute, there are an estimated 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military.
Thousands of transgender people have served with honor and distinction in our military, including the more than 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today.
Transgender service members have risked their lives around the world, and the previous transgender military ban made them unable to be their authentic selves or seek the medical care they needed. This had negative implications for our nation’s military readiness.
A service member who is able to be open and honest about their identity and receive appropriate care is more productive and focused on the mission.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!