Shocker: President Trump’s impulsive, unsubstantiated July tweet about banning transgender people from the military, which he didn’t run by any of his top advisors, has been rendered ineffective. The Pentagon announced Monday that it will resume recruiting transgender individuals into the military starting in January.
When Draft-Dodger-In-Chief eventually issued a formal order in August halting recruitment of transgender servicemembers, it was swiftly and fervently challenged by two federal courts. Now, the Pentagon is indicating that the government will likely lose the fight to ban trans servicemembers if the court continues to challenge it — hence the resumption of trans recruitment.
That’s not to say it will be easy for trans individuals to join the military. According to new regulations, they will have to pass a series of physical, mental, and medical hurdles that are very similar to those imposed on service members with bipolar disorder. Thus, it seems the military is essentially equating body dysphoria with mental illness now. (Remember when it did the same with homosexuality? Oh wait, that was in World War II.) Reportedly, trans people will have to prove that they have lived as their preferred sex for 18 months in order to join the military, which is a steep number for many trans people who have lacked access to gender reassignment surgery. There’s also a lingering argument over whether the military should fund gender reassignment surgeries for existing service members, even though it currently spends $1 million more a year on erectile dysfunction drugs. Apparently, Pentagon officials think it “increases combat effectiveness” to have a 5 hour boner.
Stil, this isn’t a total ban, and as trans people continue to benefit from heightened visibility in the military, their fellow service members will grow to understand them and ultimately welcome them. Then we’ll hopefully knock those “18 months” to “zero months.”