A president who claimed to be “friend of the gays” while on the campaign trail has proven to be our worst nightmare. In early morning tweets, Trump said he is barring transgender people from serving in the military “in any capacity.”
Trump’s announcement drew angry responses from groups that represent transgender service members. “It’s an absolute absurdity and another overstep,” said Matt Thorn, executive director of OutServe-SLDN, which represents the LGBT population in the armed forces.
The president tweeted that after consulting with “Generals and military experts” (none of whom were named) the government “will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
The Twit-In-Chief continued, “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.”
There are as many as 250 service members in the process of transitioning to their preferred genders or who have been approved to formally change gender within the Pentagon’s personnel system.
Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year. SInce October 1, trans troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications.
Last month, Defense Secretary James Mattis agreed to a six-month delay in the recruitment of trans servicemembers. At the time, the Pentagon claimed this was to allow the different branches of the military to “review their accession plans and provide input on the impact to the readiness and lethality of our forces.”
How will this affect the 2,500-7,000 trans members on active duty and the 1,500-4,000 in reserves? Trump did not address this obvious issue.