Anti-LGBT Groups Celebrate Trump’s Ban on Transgender Citizens Serving in the US Military

From The Southern Poverty Law Center:

Hatewatch Staff
July 26, 2017

In a series of Tweets Wednesday morning from his personal Twitter account, President Trump stated that “the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” Anti-LGBT groups including hate groups who’ve advocated for this policy celebrated the announcement.

The statement comes just days after the Republican-controlled House voted down an amendment to a defense spending bill that would have banned the military from funding any medical treatment related to gender transition. The amendment would have impacted currently active transgender personnel as well as transgender dependents of service members.

Though that amendment was not adopted, Defense Secretary James Mattis already had delayed an Obama-era policy that would have implemented a process for allowing transgender people to enlist. Slated to begin July 1, Mattis delayed the policy until January 1, 2018. The Trump announcement reverses another Obama-era policy in which transgender people were allowed to serve openly in the military.

Estimates vary on how many transgender people are currently serving in the armed forces. A 2016 RAND Corporation study puts the numbers at a low end of approximately 1,300 to 6,600 on active duty with an additional 1,500 in the Reserves, while a 2014 Williams Institute study estimates that number at 15,500 (combined active duty and Reserves). The RAND study determined that the cost of gender reassignment surgery for troops who wished to pursue it would be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million, an infinitesimal fraction of the Pentagon’s multi-billion dollar budget. A 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine reached similar conclusions.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a Pentagon spokesman described Trump’s Twitter posts as “new guidance” rather than an order, and said the Pentagon would issue “revised guidance” to the military “in the near future.” The Times also reported that Defense Secretary James Mattis was out of Washington and on vacation this week and that the Pentagon appeared caught off guard by Trump’s Twitter pronouncements.

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