Donald Trump took to Twitter again to announce barring all transgender individuals from serving in the military. The tweet stated people who are transgender cannot serve in the military in any capacity. Trump also stated that he came to the decision after consultation with his generals, military experts and legal professionals.
According to Trump, the military’s only focus should be “decisive” and “overwhelming” victory over enemies of the United States. The tweet went on to say that the medical costs and disruption over allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military is too much of a problem. According to FindLaw.com, members of Defense Secretary James Mattis’ staff were not aware of this ruling and were caught by surprise.
The defense department refuses to release statistics on how many transgender Americans currently serve in the military. However, estimates by Rand Corp. show that 2,500 to 7,500 people who are transgender currently serve on active duty and another 1,500 to 4,000 are in the National Guard or the reserves.
Many of Trump’s critics immediately responded to the action, calling it “cruel and arbitrary”, and a ridiculous attempt to humiliate transgender Americans. Members of the LGBTQ community call the decision “absurd” and another overstep by Trump. An organization that represents the LGBTQ community in the military threatened legal action if the Trump administration does not immediately reverse the decision. Outserve-SLDN stated that many transgender Americans currently serving have not caused any problems or issues, and those individuals often consider the military a last resort for gainful employment.
Conservative lawmakers and Trump supporters applauded the decision, calling it the first step in eliminating the need to use the military for social experimentation. Ash Carter, the former secretary of defense under President Obama, ended the ban on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military on Oct. 1st of last year.