Large-orange-man-with-tiny-hands Donald Trump has again decided to use Twitter as the platform on which he makes a major announcement: that the US government will not “accept or allow” trans people to serve in the military.
He reckons having trans people in the military would be a “burden” because of the “tremendous medical costs” and the “disruption” it would cause.
There are no words.
In June last year President Barack Obama brought forward a policy that would allow transgender people to openly serve in the military for the first time. It was approved by the Defence Department, but for the last year has been under review, as the Pentagon figures out how it would accept new transgender recruits.
Last month the Defence Secretary James Mattis said that he would be delaying the enactment of the policy for a further six months.
Earlier this month a majority in the House of Representatives voted down a proposal to restrict funding to transgender people in the military, with 24 Republicans actually joining the Democrats in voting against the amendment. The amendment would have stopped the Defence Department from paying for anything more than mental health treatment related to gender transition.
A study commissioned by the department last year found that allowing trans people to serve would have “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, putting the number of transgender people in the military at between 1,320 and 6,630. Groups such as the Transgender American Veterans Association think the figure is much higher, at 15,500.
The study estimated about 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year in the military, with 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries, all up costing between US$2.4 million and US$8.4 million, which was called an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care expenditure.
It’s just the latest attack from Trump on transgender people, after reversing in February a policy which allowed trans students to use whichever bathroom matched their gender identity.
At times like these it feels necessary to retreat to expletives. Trump’s policy change is fucking abysmal. It’s the time of blatant discrimination that people will be ashamed of years from now.
It is not yet known how this ban will be carried out, or its implications for trans people already serving in the US military.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty.