The armed forces have not been known to be the most accepting off places, with their recent history of banning blacks, women, gays, and transpeople from openly serving in the military. However, that could be changed, and quite quickly.
US president Donald J Trump went on Twitter to write:
“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 transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”
This comes as a slap in the face to the LGBT supporters of Trump, as well as a surprise as just over a year ago, the Pentagon agreed to put an end to the ban. Defense Secritary Ash Carter said last year when he decided to overturn the ban:
“We don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or marine who can best accomplish the mission. We have to have access to 100% of America’s population. Although relatively few in number, we’re talking about talented and trained Americans who are serving their country with honor and distinction,”
Now this overturned ban may be overturned again, with Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis stating “We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military.”
It is unclear why such a ban would be implemented, with Trump only referring to the costs and “disruption,” Fortune looked at the potential medical costs, and found that a study commissioned by the Pentagon has shown that less than 0.01% of the military’s healthcare costs would be allocated to transgendered individuals seeking hormone replacement and even surgery.
This is not much at all, so the cost issue is not an issue. Disruption does not seem to be a legitimate concern either. The Pentagon itself did not know about the potential policy change until after Trump tweeted about it. Trump’s history of anti-trans policy seems to ring true to this day, from trying to deny trans people healthcare rights, to rescinding Obama’s transgender bathroom decree, and now denying transpeople the ability to serve. What’s next?