Trump has launched an attack on the LGBT community in America by reinstating a ban on transgender people in the military. The ban would prevent people identifying as transgender from serving in the armed forces in any capacity.
Barack Obama established a review of policy to allow trans people to take up roles in the army, navy and air force.
In a series of tweets, Trump made his announcement. He said, “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 any capacity in the U.S. Military”. He added, “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.”
It is not clear what initiated this reversal in policy. In June, the White House administration delayed a decision as to whether or not they would allow transgendered recruits in the military. Jim Mattis, Defense Secretary claimed that an extra six months would allow generals to assess the impact.
This announcement comes in the context of changes to healthcare policy in the US. Trump is attempting to push through legislation that would reverse progress made under the Obama administration. Part of health care reform was funding for transgender people such as hormone therapy. Some Republican have eyed up spending for transgendered patients. Furthermore, some have called for scrapping of the funding.
American Veterans for Equal Rights has called for transgender recruits to be allowed in the military. They are an organisation which represents LGBT veterans. In a letter Jim Mattis in June they said: “Successful implantation of open service for Transgender military volunteers is nothing new. Just as with DADT [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell], if other military forces can implement the inclusion of Transgender service members our military can accomplish inclusion better and faster.”
In a Facebook post, they expressed their disappointment at Trump’s decision. “It is the responsibility and right of every American to defend our nation in time of emergency. And military service has been and continues to be the primary stepping stone for minorities in achieving equality in this nation. Mr. Trump has just closed that door to Transgender Americans out of nothing more than ignorance.”
Falling Poll Numbers
The decision is most likely an attempt to rally his conservative support base. His poll ratings are plummeting following a consistent stream of public mishaps. The controversy surrounding the president’s relationship with Russia rumbles on. Trump made the announcement while Defence Secretary Mattis was on vacation. This indicates that Trump had a strong level of involvement in the policy decision.
The move will be a blow to the LGBT community in the United States. Many will worry about further impacts that a conservative in the White House could have.
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