In a stream of tweets posted Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced a controversial and unwarranted ban on transgendered people from military service.
This announcement reverses the gradual transformation of the military beginning under the Obama administration. It was just last year when the Obama administration proclaimed that transgender people could openly serve in the military. Former defense secretary Ashton B. Carter also opened combat roles to women. The first openly gay Army secretary was also appointed.
This announcement came amid a controversial debate on Capitol Hill regarding the practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for the costs of medical treatment related to gender transition. Congress is considering a nearly $700 billion spending to fund the Pentagon and Republicans have said they would not support the spending measure without language that would ban using money for gender transition.
According to “The Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly in the U.S. Military”, a report released by the RAND Corporation, the implications of allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military would cause ‘minimal impact.’
“Given the small estimated number of transgender personnel and the even smaller number who would seek gender transition–related treatment in a given year, the study found that the readiness impact of transition-related treatment would lead to a loss of less than 0.0015 percent of total available labor-years in the active component. Even using the highest estimates, less than 0.1 percent of the force would seek gender transition–related treatment that would affect their ability to deploy. As a point of comparison, in the Army alone, approximately 50,000 active-component personnel were ineligible to deploy in 2015 for various legal, medical, or administrative reasons—a number amounting to around 14 percent of the active component.”
President Trump himself received four draft deferments to avoid being drafted during the late 60s and never served in the military.