Just a little over a month ago, our commander-in-chief initiated a new policy adjustment via Twitter: “after consultation with my generals and military experts, pleased be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” tweeted Trump. When it comes to taking a stance on issues within the United States, to put it bluntly, I’m more loyal to my country and my own principles than any political party or affiliation. Concerning President Donald Trump’s recent ban placed on transgenders, restricting them from serving any capacity in our armed forces, I find this completely ludicrous, not to mention, insulting, both to our LGBTQ community and country as a whole. I am beyond disappointed with our supposed Republican president’s latest ban.
Trump and his supporters see this issue entirely in the wrong perspective; they are oblivious to how detrimental their policy is to the dignity of their constituents and their own party. Despite having no military background myself, my conclusions is that this policy shift is reckless in action, preposterous in implication and hateful in overall character. Trump, along with his proponents, would argue that this new policy is only making our military safer, more cost effective and battle ready and prepared in the long run. Does he have legitimate grounds for this new policy shift?
First, it’s important discuss our president’s tweets published a little over a month ago on July 26.
“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,” tweeted Trump.
An executive decision, one affecting thousands of American lives, originating from a Twitter post? You don’t have to be a political scientist to see something wrong with this picture. A policy directive, especially one as large as this, simply cannot be ordered through a mainstream social media outlet. I could handle informal or unorthodox procedures. His tweet, however, is illogical, inappropriate, and completely absurd. Trump proves just how careless and unprofessional he can be when operating inside the White House and carrying out his policies. Rules are created for a reason: in this case, they are there to prevent confusion and disorder within the chain of command—something which failed. The Pentagon and Department of Defense were thrown entirely off guard as a result of Trump’s tweets.
“According to the National Centre for Transgender Equality, there are about 15,000 transgender people currently serving in the U.S. military,” reports Al Jazeera. The Rand Corporation also suggests there could be around 6,600 transgender troops on active duty. It goes without saying: many of these honorable and brave servicemen and women could lose their careers through a Twitter post. How irresponsible and thoughtless of Trump’s administration.
Second, the issue itself was never a major one to begin with in American history. In 2011, the Obama administration allowed transgender individuals to openly serve in the military. They were allowed to do the same thing again in 2016 through an order by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter. The Obama Administration then set a deadline of July 1, 2017, permitting the U.S. military to decide how to handle transgender recruits.
“But as NPR’s Phil Eurig has reported, Defense Secretary James Mattis put off that deadline in June,” mentions Bill Chappell for NPR.
“The memo, released by the White House on Friday, laid out in more detail a ban on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. armed forces that Trump announced via Twitter last month,” Al Jazeera reported.
The reasoning behind this new reversal shift doesn’t make any logical sense. While it may be a slight financial burden on our military’s budget, there’s no room to ban these individuals from joining the military altogether and continuing to serve. Even if we had a major financial problem, still, you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Nevertheless, no proof exists indicating such a liability exists in the first place.
“I know this will come as a shock, but there is no evidence to back up Trump’s claims,” writes Michael A. Cohen for The Boston Globe. “In fact, according to a study by the Rand Corporation, approximately 10 to 130 members of the active force could have ‘reduced deployability as a result of gender transition-related treatments’ each year. Considering there are more 100,000 nondeployable soldiers in the Army alone this is hardly a major burden.”
The U.S. military also spends five times as much on Viagra as compared to transgendered troops medical care. The Rand Corporation estimates that gender-transition-related medical treatments would cost the military between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually.
The U.S. military also spends five times as much on Viagra as compared to transgendered troops medical care.
“By contrast, total military spending on erectile dysfunction medicines amounts to $84 million annually, according to an analysis by the Military Times—10 times the cost of annual transition—related medical care for active duty transgender service members,” writes Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post.
Lastly, and most importantly, this new policy shift transmits the wrong message. Breaking his promises to protect and support, Trump instead turned his back on the LGBTQ Community. Rather than working alongside with them to arrive at an optimal solution, Trump insists he knows what’s best and he’s adamant that his decision is for the better. What he doesn’t realize is how hateful, narrow-minded and downright controversial his decision actually is.
“In 1948, when President Truman moved to racially integrate the military, voices were raised in protest. They were raised again in 2010, when Congress at last repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ At every turn, those voices have been proven wrong,” argues Helene Cooper for The New York Times.
Of all the actions Trump thinks will enhance the strength and capabilities of our nation’s military, he chooses to implement and focus on banning transgender individuals from serving in the military. It’s sad to know that this is a harsh reality. If our Republican president wishes to build a closer and stronger bond, connection, and relationships with our LGBTQ community, then he is doing a poor job. Trump’s actions invalidates his rhetoric over having support during the elections from this community. Instead of backing minorities, he alienates them. Donald Trump simply does not represent the Republican president I envisioned to reside in the White House.
In sum, Trump wants what’s easy rather than what’s right. The latter means working collaboratively, communally and cooperatively with our military advisers and transgender allies alike in successfully establishing and implementing a sound, workable and feasible strategy in recruiting anyone willing to serve. Each of us, not just Trump, can learn much from our extraordinary men and women serving in the armed forces. Their stories as both soldiers and transgender citizens are truly remarkable and unique, one that makes me deeply respect our armed forces even greater.
As for the transgender ban, I condemn our president for his unprofessional execution of policy, lack of understanding surrounding its repercussions, and absence of empathy regarding our transgender community. The medical costs are not even close to a financial encumbrance the way it’s perceived by the Trump administration and it blatantly discriminates and targets transgender individuals. With all the talk surrounding North Korea and Western powers’ potential for going to war with one another, the U.S. will need all the help it can get in challenging and overcoming our possible enemy.
Joshua Alexander is a news writer and opinion columnist for The Mirror. He is a senior with a major in history secondary education.