Yesterday was the court deadline for our Idiot-in-Chief Donald Trump to reveal the “generals and military experts” he claimed to have consulted before banning all trans people from the military via Twitter on July 26, 2017. Except everyone knows he didn’t consult anyone, so instead, he claimed “executive privilege” over those non-existent consultations and late Friday evening — like a kid turning in a hastily written term paper at the last minute — he issued a second trans military ban, but (as we’ll explain) it’s pretty much doomed to fail.
The second trans military ban basically states that “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria” who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery, are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
According to the Pentagon, the only exceptions are, “People who have been stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession, who do not require a change of gender,” which is vague (“biological sex”?) and basically just re-iterates that only cisgender people can enlist.
Make no mistake: This second trans military ban will affect the estimated 1,320 to 15,000 trans people currently serving in the military and their families because it leaves the stability of their employment uncertain. It also ensures that several trans servicemembers and their lawyers will find themselves in court challenging the new ban. However, it most likely isn’t going to become official U.S. policy, and here’s why.
1. His “new” argument is pretty much exactly the same as his old one.
When Trump issued his first ban, he said it was a cost-saving measure, except that the cost for trans medical treatment in the military is negligible. In fact, the U.S. military spends more on erectile dysfunction medication than it does on trans medical care. The military currently spends $41.6 million annually on the erectile dysfunction medication Viagra, and only $2.4 million to $8.4 million annually on trans-related healthcare, nearly five to 20 times less than its Viagra costs.
Adding some extra science-y words like “gender dysphoria” doesn’t change his unconvincing argument about wanting to save money.
2. The courts challenges against Trump’s ban remain the same.
The multiple lawsuits in U.S. Federal Courts have basically asked Trump to prove how his ban further a compelling U.S. government interest. That is, saving a few bucks by denying trans medical procedures is outweighed by the costs of dismissing currently serving trans troops who had a lot of money invested into their training and whose termination would destabilize troops already serving around the world.
Courts also wanted to know the identities and advice of the people Trump allegedly consulted with to come up with his ban. That’s because, previous to July 26, 2017, the entire U.S. military and Department of Defense was ready to let trans troops serve — they had studied it and were ready to proceed. Trump’s alleged consultants either came up with good reasons against letting them serve (reasons the American public should know) or they didn’t and Trump decided to ban trans troops anyway for political rather than defense reasons.
Trump is claiming that his first ban is old news and this is a whole new ban, ostensibly meaning that anyone who filed a lawsuit against the first one will have to a file fresh lawsuit against this new one. But trying to keep his consultants and their advice hidden behind “executive privilege” isn’t going to cut it under the scrutiny of U.S. courts. In short, Trump has to prove his case, and if he’s not willing, he’ll lose (again).
3. The Pentagon isn’t banning trans troops, no matter what Trump says.
A Pentagon official told the Washington Blade on Friday evening, “The Department of Defense will still comply with federal court rulings and continue to assess and retain transgender service members.” While this means that there may be reluctance to enlist new trans military recruits, that reluctance will likely be temporary as Trump’s second ban starts to peter out in courts.
What do you think of the odds of success for Trump’s second trans military ban? Sound off in the comments.
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