On August 25, 2017, the President of the United Stated issued a directive that will ban the military from recruiting transgender people and leaves the future of currently serving members unclear. This comes over a month after Donald Trump sent a series of tweets announcing his plans.
The response from the LGBTQ community has been swift. On Friday, Equality Texas released a statement calling the president’s actions unpatriotic and irresponsible. “President Trump signed an unnecessary and divisive directive that bans the military from recruiting transgender service members, and bans the Department of Defense from providing necessary medical care for current transgender service members,” it said. “At press time, it is unclear if currently serving members will be able to continue since The White House has left questions unanswered.”
The President’s directive does have an exception where medical treatment will be provided to “protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex,” according to the White House. The statement does leave the fate of currently serving transgender members up to military leaders. “The estimated cost of removing currently serving transgender service members will be $960 million, over 100 times the cost of retaining these patriots, and the effect it will have on military readiness and countless lives and livelihoods is too high to justify in the name of discrimination,” said Staff Sergeant (SSG) Jennifer Ingram, US Army Reserve (honorably discharged) of San Antonio, Texas in the memo.
On August 28, six transgender service members filed a lawsuit though the ACLU. In it, they say Donald Trump’s actions are “based on “discredited myths” and “moral disapproval” and violates the constitution,” according to the Guardian.
In July, 200 LGBTQ leaders were gathered for Equality Federation’s Leadership Conference and they released a statement featuring the voices of transgender veterans. Here they sent a clear message. “To every transgender person in the United States: We see you, we love you, and we will never stop fighting for you.”
To every transgender service person, we thank you for your service.