Less than a month after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced he was delaying plans to allow transgender people to enlist openly in the U.S., President Trump has taken to Twitter to announce that transgender people will not be allowed to serve “in any capacity.”
In a series of tweets posted early this morning (Wednesday, July 26), shortly before 8 a.m. EST, Trump announced: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military in any capacity. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
There’s been no word on who actually composed the relatively intelligible tweets or which of Trump’s rabidly anti-LGBT administration members urged it.
Ash Carter, Defense Secretary under President Obama, rescinded the ban on service by transgender people last year, but had allowed a year-long review to allow the Pentagon to determine how best to accept new transgender recruits. That year ended on July 1, but Mattis announced on June 30 that he was tacking on another six months to conduct a review to determine if allowing transgender individuals to enlist in the armed services will affect the “readiness or lethality” of the force.
Brenda Tripp, an transgender woman and military veteran who served 20 years on active duty and another eight in the reserves, said this morning sh was “holding back tears. This is really difficult and scary.”
Tripp continued, “I served in one way or another under every administration from President Reagan through President Obama. I’ve seen the adaptation to the social changes through these years handled with professionalism and grace each time, with the end result being a more relevant and ready miliary.
“When Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was lifted, there was a fear that it was to identify all of the gay personnel then currently serving so they could be discharged,” she said. “President Trump has effectively done this by not moving forward with the previous administration’s initiative. This is the first administration that I can think of that has acted so rashly and failed the citizen volunteers of the best military in the world so miserably.”
CNN this morning noted that, “A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military’s 1.3 million-member force.