Yesterday, President Trump announced on Twitter that transgender people can no longer serve in the U.S. military in “any capacity.” This came as a shock to many, even military leaders and Pentagon officials. Just last year, President Obama had enacted a policy that allowed transgender people to openly serve in the military, which was a great victory for the LGBTQ community. Under Obama’s policy, transgender military members also received coverage for any treatment deemed medically necessary by their doctors. This could include hormone therapy and surgery for gender reassignment. According to Trump, these costs are among the top reasons for his decision to ban transgender people from serving. However, there is no basis or evidence at the moment that supports this claim. This ban is pure discrimination and an injustice for transgender people.
No American, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be prohibited from honor + privilege of serving our nation #LGBT
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) July 26, 2017
President Trump does indeed have the power to remove Obama’s policy since it is not law. In light of this, it’s reassuring to hear that our country's top military officer, Marine General Joseph Dunford, announced there had been no change yet to Pentagon policy on transgender service members, saying the military will continue to "treat all of our personnel with respect."
“I can’t think of anything more backwards than turning away a brave, qualified American who wants to serve in our all-volunteer military because of their gender identity. [...] Just as we did with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Congress must stand up against backwards politics, trust our military leaders, and put national security first.” ~ Rep. Scott Peters