On Friday night, the White House released a new ban on transgender military service members. The policy reads, “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
According to multiple sources, Vice President Mike Pence played a leading role in the creation of this new policy, along with anti-trans activist Ryan Anderson and Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ lobbying group.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump had rescinded his previous policy to allow this new policy to take its place. The new policy was “developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans,” under the direction of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
As Slate reports, “the policy issued by the White House on Friday combines anti-trans propaganda with baseless, discredited concerns about the alleged danger of open transgender service,” including false claims about military readiness, privacy and cost. And as Slate points out, “given its authors, the Trump report’s conclusions are unsurprising.”
Family Research Council has a history of pushing anti-trans misinformation to justify harmful and discriminatory policies. When the ban on transgender military members was first announced last summer, FRC senior fellow Peter Sprigg published a report with the false claim that over the next 10 years, allowing transgender people to serve in the military could cost “as much as $1.9 to $3.7 billion,” an estimate significantly higher than those from the Pentagon-commissioned Rand Corp study and research from the Palm Center.
Another of Trump’s “experts,” anti-trans extremist Ryan T. Anderson, has repeatedly used biased and wonky science to justify bigotry against the trans community. In February he published When Harry Became Sally, an entire book dedicated to discrediting the transgender experience. The book falsely argues that transgender people are mentally ill and would have better outcomes if they did not transition.