Defense chiefs resist Donald Trump’s ban on transgender troops

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/27/donald-trump-transgender-ban-troops-pentagon-us-military

US military will continue to permit transgender individuals to serve openly until Defense Secretary Jim Mattis receives Trump’s ‘direction’ to change policy

Associated Press
Thursday 27 July 2017

US defense chiefs have pushed back against Donald Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the military, saying the policy would not be overturned until they received formal direction to do so.

In a rebuke to Trump’s attempt to run the government and military via Twitter, Gen Joseph Dunford, America’s top military officer, said on Thursday that the armed forces would continue to permit transgender people to serve openly until the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, has received Trump’s “direction” to change the policy and figured out how to implement it.

In a memo to all military service chiefs, commanders and enlisted military leaders, Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said “there will be no modifications” to current policy for now, amid questions about Trump’s announcement on Twitter that the US government will not “accept or allow” transgender people to serve in any capacity in the military.

“I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement,” Dunford began, adding that nothing would change until the president’s direction has been received by Mattis and Mattis has issued “implementation guidance”.

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” Dunford wrote. “As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”

The Dunford statement suggests that Mattis was given no presidential direction on changing the transgender policy. Mattis has been on vacation this week and has been publicly silent amid questions about Trump’s announced ban. His spokesmen declined to comment on Thursday. On Wednesday, they said the Pentagon would work with the White House and provide revised guidance to the military “in the near future”.

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/27/donald-trump-transgender-ban-troops-pentagon-us-military

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I was a transgender UK military officer – and I know first hand Donald Trump is wrong

From iNews UKhttps://inews.co.uk/opinion/comment/i-came-transgender-serving-raf-donald-trump-couldnt-wrong/

Ayla Holdom
Thursday July 27th 2017

I joined the military for the same reasons as many, not just for what the glossy brochure said. It was a deep sense of duty and the privilege to work alongside some of the finest people I’ve known; knowing that all the training, dangers and challenges we face together will make a difference in the world. To be part of something more important than myself.

When I came out as transgender in 2010, each of these things was foremost in my mind. I was an operational search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force at the time.

People’s lives depended on our ability to work as a team. We were often called upon in terrible weather, day or night. There was no room for error. Winching our paramedic to a stormy cliff face at night was not the time for awkwardness to get in the way of crew communication.

We were also on shift for 24 hours at a time, with just four of us on that day’s crew. In all senses, you just had to get on well. I wasn’t going to let something like my gender get in the way of my work and my colleagues absolutely deserved my professionalism.

In many ways, this clear focus on the task helped my colleagues and I overcome any potential eggshells. Doing the job mattered more than whether one of us was trans. Certainly, the people we rescued cared little if one of the crew was trans. Working with the men and women of the SAR community has been one of the greatest privileges of my life, and I will always be thankful that no one let fear of difference get in the way of that and all we achieved.

Being trans wasn’t something I could avoid, though I had tried almost to the point of breaking for 27 years. Eventually I had no alternative than to accept myself. Hiding myself from the world was costing too much.

The conundrum then was how to resolve my being trans without affecting my unit. My colleagues and my service rallied better than I could have ever hoped, in no small part thanks to the UK military’s experience of enabling open trans service since the turn of the century.

When I came out, my colleagues and I had serving role models like Flight Lieutenant Caz Paige to look to, to see that in the military you could be trans, respected and good at your job. The open conversation at work, pragmatic planning and a healthy dose of military banter ensured I was supported through the few procedures I needed to sort out. Military mates are more than colleagues, they’re family. That is something that transcends nationality, meaning those trans people serving in the militaries of other nations matter to me, a lot.

Continue reading at: https://inews.co.uk/opinion/comment/i-came-transgender-serving-raf-donald-trump-couldnt-wrong/

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APA Questions Announcement to Bar Transgender People From US Military

From The American Psychological Association:   http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/07/transgender-military.aspx

July 26, 2017

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association questioned President Trump’s announced ban on transgender people serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. military, a reversal of the previous administration’s decision to allow transgender military personnel to serve openly.

“The American Psychological Association questions the reasoning behind President Trump’s call to bar transgender people from the military. We’ve seen no scientific evidence that allowing transgender people to serve in the armed forces has had an adverse impact on our military readiness or unit cohesion. Therefore, we ask that transgender individuals continue to be allowed to serve their country,” said APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD.

Trump’s concerns about the “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail” echo arguments underlying the Defense Department’s previous “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, Puente said. He cited research by Aaron Belkin, PhD, a leading scholar and director of the Palm Center, which has found no overall negative impact on military readiness or its component dimensions, including cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale. “Indeed, Dr. Belkin has found that the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell appears to have enhanced the military’s ability to pursue its mission,” Puente added.

A 2016 RAND report commissioned by DoD found that the health care costs of letting transgender people serve openly in the military would increase by no more than a mere 0.13 percent.

Research has shown that discrimination is a significant source of stress for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and has substantial adverse effects on their health and well-being. For decades, APA has been engaged in applying psychological science to improve the health and well-being of LGBT people. APA has urged psychologists to take a leading role in ending discrimination based on gender identity and has called for more research into all aspects of gender identity and expression. APA’s governing Council of Representatives adopted a resolution in 2008 supporting full equality for transgender and gender-variant people and legal and social recognition of transgender individuals.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

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‘I Served. Trump Never Did’: Trans Veterans Respond to The President’s Ban

From Broadly @ Vice:  https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/43d989/i-served-trump-never-did-trans-veterans-respond-to-the-presidents-ban

“His decision hurts thousands of serving people—and their families. It’s based on ignorance and bigotry.”

By Diana Tourjee and Leila Ettachfini
Jul 26 2017

On Wednesday morning President Trump announced a major policy change in the US military, proclaiming on Twitter that transgender people will be banned from serving “in any capacity.” The shocking policy shift comes barely a year after the Obama administration instituted a landmark achievement for the rights of transgender military personnel by ending the ban on trans servicemen.

“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,” the President stated early this morning. “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.”

For transgender Americans who have served in the US military—and those who support trans rights anywhere—the decision is a disgrace. Brittyn Calyx is a trans woman and former Private First Class in the Army National Guard, who was discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “for three years during the height of the Iraq War.” The idea that transgender military personnel are “disruptive” to the primary mission of US military simply isn’t true, she told Broadly.

“Gender dysphoria affects different people differently, but it doesn’t really impact job performance as long as the employer creates an environment that is accepting and validating,” Calyx said. “That can be done in the military, and it should.”

“This does great harm to people who simply want to serve their country, and have been doing so with distinction and without disruption to our mission,” said Brynn Tannehll, a former Lt. Commander and trans woman who served in the US Navy for more than a decade.

Trump’s suggestion that transgender military personnel burden the military with undue financial strain is factually unfounded. Research by the Rand Corporation into this very subject has shown that the medical expenses associated with trans people in the military are negligible; medical care for trans military personnel is estimated to “have a marginal impact on health care costs and the readiness of the force.”

“We have been serving honorably for decades,” Tannehill affirmed. “The current policy has been going smoothly.” So what’s the problem? Though Trump cited how disruptive and expensive trans people would be to the military, others have suggested the decision is based on discrimination.

Continue reading at:  https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/43d989/i-served-trump-never-did-trans-veterans-respond-to-the-presidents-ban

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Transgender People Can Still Serve for Now, U.S. Military Says

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/us/politics/transgender-military-trump-ban.html

By
July 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — Transgender people can continue to serve in the military for now, Pentagon leaders said on Thursday, scrambling to clarify the confusion surrounding President Trump’s abrupt announcement a day earlier that transgender people would no longer be accepted or allowed in uniform.

In a letter to the military service chiefs, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the policy on who is allowed to serve would not change until the White House sends the Defense Department new rules and the secretary of defense issues new guidelines.

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” General Dunford said in the letter.

Dana White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman, said the Defense Department would provide detailed guidance in the “near future” on how Mr. Trump’s tweets will be turned into policy.

The open-ended nature of their comments reflected the challenge facing the Pentagon: how to put in place a policy that was announced without a plan to do so.

In announcing a reversal of previous policy in three tweets, Mr. Trump upended years of debate at the Pentagon over how to treat men and women in the military who do not identify with the gender that they appeared at birth. Lawmakers and stakeholders in both parties said that making such a sudden announcement without a plan to carry it out demonstrated the folly of Mr. Trump’s attempt to govern by tweet.

“I respect the leadership at the Pentagon, and the deliberative way they have done this,” said Tyler Deaton, a senior adviser to American Unity Fund, a Republican advocacy group that supports rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. “I think now the only person who disagrees with their approach in a formal way is the president. And the only indication we have is a tweet storm on a Wednesday morning in July.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/us/politics/transgender-military-trump-ban.html

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AMA says ‘no medically valid reason’ for Trump’s ban on transgender people in military

From The Hill:  http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/343969-ama-says-no-logical-reason-for-trumps-ban-on-trangender-people-in

By Josh Delk
07/26/17

The country’s largest medical organization on Wednesday responded to President Trump’s decision to prevent transgender individuals from serving in the military by saying “there is no medically valid reason” for the ban.

“Transgender individuals are serving their country with honor, and they should be allowed to continue doing so,” the American Medical Association (AMA) said in a statement.

Trump announced the ban in a series of tweets Wednesday morning.

“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,” he wrote.

The AMA also took aim at the president’s tweets on the financial cost of allowing transgender people to serve. The statement cited a 2016 RAND study that found the financial burden of transgender individuals in the military is “a rounding error in the defense budget and should not be used as an excuse to deny patriotic Americans an opportunity to serve their country.”

AMA policy “also supports public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender dysphoria as recommended by the patient’s physician,” according to the organization.

Complete article at:  http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/343969-ama-says-no-logical-reason-for-trumps-ban-on-trangender-people-in

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Why Trump Is So Afraid of Trans People

From Marie Claire:  http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/features/a28427/trump-transgender-military-service/

Here’s the secret: He’s not, but he’s going to keep pretending he is.

By
Jul 26, 2017

Just when you think we’ve reached the limit on how shameful the president can be, he outdoes himself. This morning, in a series of tweets, Trump announced that the government will not “accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.” His reasoning, if you can call it that, is that the military cannot be “burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [sic] in the military would entail.”

This news comes a little more than a year after Trump tweeted to the LGBT community, “I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.” Trump doesn’t really care about trans people’s rights one way or another—just how he can use them to his political advantage.

Thankfully, just because Trump tweets something doesn’t make it so; the president cannot simply declare, over Twitter no less, that trans people will not be allowed in the military. But this announcement is a reminder of Trump’s fundamental leadership strategy: Attack the most marginalized—especially when they’re down.

Trump’s agenda is failing in a monumental and public way, people are furious about healthcare, and the president’s approval ratings are historically low. Despite claiming that he’s signed more bills than any president ever (blatantly untrue), Trump has yet to pass one significant piece of legislation. But by making this morning’s declaration about trans service members, Trump can not only try to finally have a “win,” but also cultivate glowing support from evangelicals and conservatives.

Complete article at:  http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/features/a28427/trump-transgender-military-service/

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