By Emma Campbell
Elm Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban to go into effect, enraging LGBTQ activists who are calling the action undemocratic and discriminatory, CNN reports.
The policy blocks people with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving in the military, while also specifying that individuals without the condition can serve as long as they do so according to the gender they were assigned at birth. The ban was first proposed by Trump in a 2017 tweet.
“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 transgenders in the military would entail,” Trump said via Twitter in 2017.
According to a 2017 study conducted by the RAND Corp., and summarized by Forbes, the United States government spends approximately $8.4 million on medical costs for transgender soldiers. This amount is extracted from the Defense Department’s $50 billion military allotment. This means that 0.0017 percent of the national defense fund is allocated to cover the medical needs of transgender soldiers.
Such an insignificant percentage is hardly a “burden,” as our president so dramatically puts it. In fact, $8.4 million is such a small amount that Trump’s fuss would be laughable if people’s livelihoods were not at stake.
For a man like Trump (who paid $100 million for his gold-clad NYC penthouse) to call the sum of $8.5 million “tremendous” and “disruptive” is outrageous. Trump speaks frequently about the importance of supporting the United States military, yet he is alienating transgender Americans who show incredible bravery and selflessness just by volunteering to serve.
It is clear that Trump not only misunderstands the transgender people he is obligated to protect, he also does not care about them. It is more than likely that he will make no effort to educate himself on the issue, nor make any genuine attempt to empathize with the trans soldiers who wish to volunteer their services.
Jennifer N. Prizker, a Republican trans woman and retired Army lieutenant colonel, told the Chicago Tribune that she wishes to see the ban reversed.
“As a retired officer with a 27-year career in the Army, I believe a ban on transgender service hurts the readiness, morale, discipline and unit cohesion of the military. Research shows that an inclusive policy promotes readiness, while exclusion harms it. A policy of equal treatment promotes integrity, equal standards, morale for minorities, and expands the talent pool,” Prizker said.
Prizker is correct in stating that the dismissal of transgender soldiers from the military would be harmful to America’s democracy. Trump’s new policy is toxic to the American promise of freedom and inclusion. As the current administration pushes against the rights that LGBTQ people are deserving of, military leaders ought to leave the inclusive policy in place until the issue is resolved.

The Elm

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