Donald Trump to ban transgenders from US military! A good decision, or another sign of prejudice?
When former US President Barack Obama's administration decided to allow transgenders to serve in the US military, advocates of sexual equality shouted from the rooftops in joy. It was considered a pivotal moment in the LGBT movement in America.
Now, the Donald Trump administration has ruled that out, stating it will ban transgenders from serving in the US military "in any capacity".
“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 US Military,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“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.”
Trump's defense secretary, retired. Gen. Jim Mattis, said in a statement last month: “Since becoming the Secretary of Defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: will the decision affect the readiness and lethality of the force?
“Put another way, how will the decision affect the ability of America’s military to defend the nation? It is against this standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender individuals into the military Services.”
There may be as many as 11,000 transgenders in the reserves and active duty military, according to a Rand Corp study commissioned by the Defense Department.
The start of a titanic legal battle?
Richard Socarides, a gay rights advocate who advised Bill Clinton on gay men and lesbians serving in uniform, called Trump's decision “a tragic betrayal of all LGBT Americans and a shameful effort to win over social conservatives at the expense of the vulnerable".
“But, what Trump will now learn: Don't mess with us,” Socarides told the Washington Post. “This gets him a fight he will not win.”
Gay rights and transgender organizations have long threatened legal action against the Pentagon if it decided to roll back or hinder the service of transgender troops, the Post said.
Let's meet face to face and you tell me I'm not worthy," Kristen Beck, a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALs.
The rift widens as dismay at move spreads
Senator John McCain said in a statement: "There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military — regardless of their gender identity.
"We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so — and should be treated as the patriots they are."