On July 26, 2017, President Donald Trump posted a series of three tweets that said transgender people would be banned from the right to serve their country. Trump contends the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Considering that many troops do not have a squeaky clean medical record, Trump took it upon himself to say transgender people are tremendously costly to the military. Although, he does claim to have discussed this with generals and other military specialists.
Biological males and females who are in transition do need extra medical attention to maintain estrogen or testosterone levels. Even though many transgender folks are already serving in the military, Trump is ignoring the impact they currently have on daily tasks and extended missions.
This means that thousands of transgender soldiers are at the risk of termination because of gender identity and countless others will be denied the right to serve.
Based on Marine General Joseph Dunford’s commentary regarding the issue, Trump was not supposed to release any information about this possible change, nor did they expect him to announce it as if it was set in stone.
The tweets created a backlash of criticism against the president, however, his remarks opened the door for debate. The first complaint would be that his pronouncement contradicts his campaign promises.
“As a presidential candidate, Trump last year vowed to fight for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people,” according to Haaretz.
His disregard for the vow he made only a year ago represents insincerity within his pledge and points to the fact that his words were merely a publicity stunt to gain votes.
Red, White, and Navy
On the same day as Trump’s proclamation, it was also announced that the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier will be the first to have gender-neutral bathrooms. These two announcements demonstrate the irony of the situation. The Navy says they have planned to include the same group Trump wants to discard.
The Navy, however, sees gender identity as a less stressful topic. This change was made to make life easier, but it implies the acceptance of gender non-conforming individuals.
A lot of back and forth came along with the decision to have gender inclusive spaces, which would help transgender troops. According to Operations Specialist 1st Class Kaylea Motsenbocker, “this is designed to give the ship flexibility because there aren’t any berthing areas that are dedicated to one sex or the other.”
This decision emphasizes the Department of Defense Directive 1304.26, commonly referred to as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, because no one can be denied usage of the bathrooms based on another’s assumption. Even if one Navy Seal believes another is something they are not, at the end of the day, they have to use the same facility.
As stated previously, this change was made for flexibility of the berthing areas and at the same time, it coincides with gender inclusion and awareness, as this is the first ship to gender-neutral bathrooms.
There are thousands of transgender people in the military and Navy troops contribute to that number. The Navy is taking the first step toward recognition.
In fact, the 2016 Rand Corporation “study has estimated there to be between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender soldiers out of 1.3 million active duty troops.” The company concluded the overall costs from transgender-related medical expenses would be minimal, which is contrary to President Trump’s claim.
Written by Alexandria Martin
Edited by C. Milne and J. Smith
CNN Politics: Trump Bans Transgender People From Military
Breitbart: Navy’s Newest Aircraft Carrier Is First To Have Gender Neutral Bathrooms
The Washington Post: Trump Announces That He Will Ban Transgender People From Serving In The Military
Haaretz: Marine General: No Change in Military Transgender Policy Until Trump Sends Official Order
Rand Corporation: Impact of Transgender Personnel on Readiness and Health Care Costs in the U.S. Military Likely to Be Small
Featured and Top Image by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Granito Courtesy of U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License