President Donald Trump says transgender individuals can no longer serve in US military in any capacity.
President Donald Trump has said he will not allow transgender individuals to serve in the United States military in any capacity, seemingly unwinding landmark Pentagon policy just 12 months after a transgender ban was lifted.
- President Trump says the military can no longer be burdened by transgender individuals.
- It is unclear what will happen to the thousands currently serving in the military.
- Pentagon refers all questions to the White House, rights groups say to get lawyers.
“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 US Military,” President Trump wrote on Twitter.
The Pentagon released a statement saying that all questions on President Trump’s transgender ban should be referred to the White House.
The Usual Suspects
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.
AMA policy “also supports public and private health insurance coverage (Cha-Ching) for treatment of gender dysphoria as recommended by the patient’s physician,” according to the organization
About one-fifth of all transgender adults are veterans, making transgender people approximately twice as likely as others to serve in the military, according to a 2014 survey by the NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
A 2014 UCLA article published in the academic journal Medical Forces & Society concluded that transgender service members are just as deployable and medically ready as their cisgender peers, with few exceptions.
“As noted in other sections of this article, cross-sex hormone treatment and mental health considerations do not, in general, impede the deployability of transgender service members, and the public record includes instances in which transgender individuals deployed after having undergone transition,” the researchers wrote.
Active transgender service members in the US forces have been able to seek gender-related care since 2016. But RAND found that less than 1% of the US military force has done so. The report also suggested that trans people have a “minimal likely impact” on force readiness, a measure that includes factors like unit cohesion and physical ability.
“We found that that transgender people serving in the military had a negligible impact overall,” RAND senior economist Radha Iyengar told Business Insider. “Australia, the UK, Israel, and Canada allow openly transgender people to serve. Looking at the factual numbers, we don’t think there’s any evidence that allowing open service would be costly or affect military readiness.”
Evan Young, the director of the Transgender American Veteran Association and a former army major, told BI that hiding his trans identity during his 14 years of military service was emotionally draining.
“The ban [on transgender people in the military] impacted me a lot,” he said. “I hid during ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ As soon as that was lifted, I realized I was transgender, and I stayed in the closet. For my entire military career, I had been closeted. It affected me severely mentally. I couldn’t bring my partner to any functions. And when I started taking testosterone, I could visibly see the changes, and I know my commander could too. I was a recluse. It was very tough.”
Senator John McCain, a veteran himself, also denounced President Trump’s decision.
“Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving,” McCain said in a statement. “There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military — regardless of their gender identity.”