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Yesterday saw the American Department of Defense officially approve Donald Trump’s ban on trans servicemembers in the U.S. military, and a memo outlining the policy was obtained by reporters. The trans ban must be implemented among the military as of April 12.
According to the Associated Press, which obtained the memo, the military will be forced to discharge trans soldiers unwilling to serve in their birth gender. Any soldier who is “unable or unwilling to adhere to all applicable standards, including the standards associated with his or her biological sex, or seeks transition to another gender,” is to be discharged.
There will be an exception whereby “service secretaries [can] waive the policy on a case-by-case basis,” presumably for those soldiers deemed indispensable.
The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that more than 134,000 American veterans are trans, and over 15,000 trans people are serving in military today.
This trans ban policy was signed by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist last night.
Going forward, military recruits who are trans will no longer be allowed to join the military, even if they have transitioned to their true gender. To join the military in the future, a person cannot have had hormone treatment or surgery.
Trump’s trans ban will take place despite military service chiefs telling Congress they’d seen no issues with trans troops serving openly in the U.S. military, in terms of discipline, morale or unit readiness problems.
Some Republicans have created a false narrative around the cost of trans soldiers, but the Pentagon has confirmed it spent around $8 million on “transgender care” out of the military’s annual health care budget, which is more than $50 billion.
Unsurprisingly, advocacy groups and liberal have come out as opposed to this discriminatory trans ban, including Democrats’ leader in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called the policy “cowardly.”
“The President’s revival of his bigoted, disgusting ban on transgender servicemembers is a stunning attack on the patriots who keep us safe and on the most fundamental ideals of our nation,” she said in a statement last night. “The president’s years-long insistence on his cowardly ban makes clear that prejudice, not patriotism, guides his decisions.”
Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center, which promotes the study of LGBTQ servicemembers, said, “In almost three years of open service these troops built a strong record of achievement and earned the support of every service chief. The Trump administration is determined to bring back ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ a policy that forced service members to choose between serving their country and telling the truth about who they were.”