Trump: Transgender people ‘can’t serve’ in US military

Trump: Transgender people ‘can’t serve’ in US military

Trump: Transgender people ‘can’t serve’ in US military

Written by Ranee Mohamed

27 Jul, 2017 | 5:47 am

US President Donald Trump says transgender people cannot serve in “any capacity” in the military.

He tweeted that he had consulted with military experts and cited “tremendous medical costs and disruption”.

The Obama administration decided last year to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military.

But in June, Defence Secretary James Mattis agreed to a six-month delay in the recruitment of transgender people.

As is often the case, the announcement came in a series of tweets.

Mr Trump said: “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 U.S. Military.

“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.”

But the measure will not go into effect immediately, as spokesperson Sarah Sanders told reporters at a White House press briefing.

The implementation policy has to be worked out, she said when asked if troops on battlefields would be immediately sent back to the United States.

This was “a military decision” said Mrs Sanders, adding that it is “not meant to be anything more than that”.

The secret life of a transgender airman

Why has the president decided on this now?

Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America Reporter

The timing of this transgender ban is almost as interesting as the move itself.

Why now? With the Trump administration being buffeted by the Jeff Sessions political death watch, the ongoing multi-prong investigation into the Trump campaign, the healthcare drama in the Senate and the impending Russian sanctions bill, perhaps the administration decided this was a good time to change the subject and rally conservative forces to his side.

Republicans have long used cultural issues as a wedge to divide Democrats and energise evangelicals. As one White House insider acknowledged, this is straight out of that playbook. While Mr Trump campaigned as sympathetic to LGBT rights, he needs the traditional religious conservatives to stay loyal to him now, more than ever.

Or perhaps, as Politico is reporting, the White House sought to resolve an intraparty dispute that threatened passage of a key military spending bill in the House of Representatives. That the president chose to do so suddenly, with little advanced notice, would not be out of the ordinary for this administration.

The president’s action will create a furore among liberals and the media commentators whose disdain for the current administration is not a new development. This is a fight the White House will welcome.

What is the status of transgender service personnel?

The independent Rand Corporation estimated in 2016 that about 4,000 US active-duty and reserve service members are transgender, although some campaigners put the figure higher than 10,000.

Rand also predicted that the inclusion of transgender people in the military would cause a 0.13% increase in healthcare spending (approximately $8.4m).

A Military Times analysis found that the Department of Defense spends five times that figure just on erectile dysfunction drug Viagara alone.

The Obama administration’s move to allow transgender people in the military to serve openly was announced in June 2016 by then Defence Secretary Ash Carter.

Courtesy: BBC

Latest News