Denounce Trump's Ban on Transgender Troops
On July 26, Donald Trump announced in a series of tweets that the US military will no longer allow transgender troops to serve in any capacity, reversing the Obama administration's July 2016 policy permitting transgender troops to serve openly. Trump's claim that transgender troops' service will "burden" and disrupt the military is at odds with both common decency and objective facts. A Pentagon-commissioned, nonpartisan RAND Corporation study found that providing gender confirmation treatment to transgender service people would have a minimal impact on the military's combat readiness. Further, the report found it would cost between $2 and $8 million to provide gender confirmation services to transgender troops; while this amount sounds significant, $8 million is a mere 0.01% of the $598 billion that the US military spent during fiscal year 2015. In contrast, the military spends an annual $84 million on erectile dysfunction medication such as Viagra, 10x the annual cost of transgender medical care. Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen has advocated for transgender troops to both serve openly and get necessary treatment, stating: “Thousands of transgender Americans are currently serving in uniform and there is no reason to single out these brave men and women and deny them the medical care that they require.” The legal status of Trump's assault on transgender troops is also unclear, as is the military's position on Trump's tweet-based policymaking. The implications of this announcement for the roughly 6,000 transgender troops currently serving are also uncertain. We do not even know if Trump will need to formally sign this policy into law. However, it is clear that members of Congress must speak out firmly and strongly against this discriminatory policy and the bizarre manner in which it was announced. "