Donald Trump, Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
–President Donald Trump, in a tweet Wednesday morning stating that he wants to ban transgender people from military service. There are currently an estimated 15,500 transgender people serving in the military.
Trump, who during last year’s election said he was a “friend” to the LGBTQ community, added that the U.S. Military “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [sic] in the military would entail.”
If true, it would represent a departure from the military’s current course. Openly transgender individuals were due to be allowed to enlist starting Jan. 1, 2018 — though that was pushed back from the earlier date of July 1, 2017, earlier this month after military secretaries requested more time to implement the policy.
As for the president’s claims that the military would be “burdened with tremendous medical costs,” those fears are largely unfounded.
New England Journal of Medicine estimated that providing transgender service members with hormone therapy or surgery would cost about $5.6 million each year, which study author Aaron Belkin said would amount to “little more than a rounding error in the military’s $47.8 billion health care budget.”
Last year Trump promised to “fight” for the LGBTQ community, claiming that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would “threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
Instead, he has stocked his administration with anti-LGBTQ voices and catered to the whims of the conservative right. There’s a reason Metro Weekly proclaimed last year that “Every LGBT Person Should Be Terrified of Trump’s Administration.”