LGBTQs and allies of the community were in utter shock on Wednesday when President Trump unleashed a series of three tweets that effectively banned transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military in any capacity. But according to a U.S. general, the military policy on trans soldiers hasn’t yet changed.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told military leaders on Thursday that despite Trump’s announced plans for a ban of the transgender — which, it should be noted, completely took the Pentagon by surprise and even left it believing we were going to war with North Korea for nine minutes — no change has yet been made to the policy itself.
The military is apparently waiting until Defense Secretary Jim Mattis receives direction from the president about an official policy change.
“In the meantime,” Dunford wrote in a memo to senior officials, service chiefs and commanders, “we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”
USA Today reports that an email by Navy Vice Adm. Robert Burke also says that trans sailors won’t be immediately discharged and will continue to receive medical treatment. That same email reportedly acknowledged that Trump’s Twitter announcement is “causing concern for some of our sailors.”
The Stranger contributor and noted sex columnist Dan Savage has pointed out that for the real reasoning behind this out-of-left-field ban, we need only look at what one Trump administration official has said:
This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin to take complete ownership of this issue. How will blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?
So, once again, LGBTs are being used as a wedge issue. Marvelous, ain’t it?