According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration is moving forward with a ban on transgender Americans serving in the military. Trump announced the ban last month via Twitter, but it wasn’t clear at the time whether if anything would come from his statement. The Pentagon said that it had not received any guidance from the White House at the time that Trump made his statement, so it seemed like it might have been an empty promise until now.
The Hill reported that under the Pentagon’s new policy, Defense Secretary James Mattis would judge a service member’s readiness for deployment when making the decision to remove them from the military. A 2016 study commissioned by the Pentagon revealed that there may be as many as 10,000 transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military, up to 6600 active duty members and 4150 Reserve members. A strict enforcement of a ban could be crippling for strategic support throughout the military.
Furthermore, Trump’s claims about the reasoning for the ban appear to be false. He cited the “tremendous medical costs” that come from having transgender people in the military, but the Pentagon study found that on average, less than 100 transgender service members per year seek transition-relation health coverage that could affect their readiness for deployment. According to US News & World Report, that would cost the Department of Defense a maximum of $8.4 million per year, less than .002 percent of the department’s annual budget. For contrast, the Pentagon spends 10 times more on erectile dysfunction medication than transgender health costs.
More to come…