Everyone is equal, @realDonaldTrump

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Since Donald Trump had entered the race to run as president, he said he would be a strong defender of the LGBT community—and even claimed he would be a better president for LGBT Americans than his opponent, Hillary Clinton. However, on Wednesday, July 26, our ever illustrious president posted three tweets announcing the ban of transgender people from serving in the United States military. Quoted from President Trump’s twitter via CNN: “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. 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.” This statement was not approved by the Pentagon (something I’m not surprised about). But why such a hasty and impulsive decision made by the military’s own Commander in Chief? Prior to Trump announcing his ban on transgender people from serving in the military, Obama repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that was administered under Clinton’s presidency. This policy allowed “closeted members of the military to serve,” where outed ones could not. Under Barack Obama’s presidency, in 2011, he lifted the ban on transgender people from serving openly in the military. However, the Obama administration also allowed for a one year review to allow for the Pentagon to be able to analyze and come up with a plan on how they would implement new transgender recruits into the military, openly. And with no plan by the end of the deadline, current Defense secretary, James Mattis, who was on vacation, postponed a decision on finalizing the transgender policy. Trump merely tweeted him his final answer.

It would be easy for one who is a strong supporter of the LGBT community to take biased on this issue. The same could be said for those that are avid supporters of president Trump. For me, I like to think that I fall wherever those who support human equality lay. Being able to acknowledge that the LGBT community deserves a certain amount of respect. But also, the president, no matter how insensitive and hasty he may be, is still the president and has the right to make these decisions. Coming from a base-point like this, it’s clear that transgender people should still receive the basic human rights to be treated like any non-transgender person— since we are all the same. That no matter what gender, sex, religion, skin color, political party, economic status—the list can go on and on—that we should all be treated equally and anyone who doesn’t believe that probably isn’t fit to be a leader. And definitely not the president of the United States, the land of the free.

In a place that searches and fights for equality everywhere we go, if you’re LGBT, that equality keeps going down, down, down. President Trump’s surprise ban on transgender people from the U.S. military is as simple as taking away an American’s chance to serve their country. Trump’s claim is that the 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. According to RAND, there is an estimated 1,320-6,630 transgender service members currently serving in the U.S. army which means that the transgender culture in the U.S. military makes up less than one percent of total service members. Of his very few, and textbook, reasons for the ban, Trump settled with cost and disruption to unit cohesion and readiness. Do transgender people in the military pose too high of a medical threat? And does being transgender and in the military really “complicate” our nation’s ability to be overwhelmingly victorious?

Keeping everyone around him in the dark, it’s not question that President Trump had made an impulsive decision that hurt the country more than it helped it. This should not be a question: should transgender people should be able to serve in the U.S. military? They did in the past unnoticed, and have been able to serve open recently due to policies implemented under Obama’s presidency. It’s not should we let transgender people serve in the military, but more of a case that deals with LGBT’s fight for equality and that this ban is putting a strain on their right to be treated as equal. With relief, Joint Chiefs at the pentagon are not accepting Trump’s tweets as formal notification, due to the manner it was presented in: three, 140 character postings. While waiting for Trump and Mattis to confront the Pentagon formally, “in the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect,” General Dunford said in a letter written to service chiefs, commanders, and senior enlisted leaders.

Trumps states that he is concerned about the medical costs that are connected to transgender people, one of his few, and weak, reasons for the ban. The medical and treatment that transgender people must receive uses money from the military that could be used for other medical treatments, or somewhere else in the military overall. However, he is mistaken with this assumption. RAND, in 2016, did a study on the health care needs of a transgender individual and the cost of covering treatments that a transitioning transgender person might need. Not to mention, that not all transgender members will actually require a transition surgery. Some simply wouldn’t want that surgery. According to their article, allowing transgender members to serve in the military would have “minimal impact” on health care costs. Since transgender people account for less than one percent of the military. This puts their total estimated medical costs at about $8 million. This is still less than one percent of the entire military budget. President Trump is also concerned about the military’s ability to be “overwhelmingly victorious.” However, the same RAND study, said: “We’ve had commanders report that having a more improved attitude toward inclusiveness and diversity was beneficial to their unit overall.” Is the US military so sensitive that they can’t handle members of the LGBT community fighting alongside them. Like I said before, they’ve done it in the past. And only when they serve openly, it seems to be a problem. This probably has to do with the notion that anyone who is LGBT is different from the rest of us. And this is terribly wrong. You could ask a four-year old if everyone is equal, and they would give you a better answer than Trump. Yes, everyone is equal.

Unlike other news sources, RAND had actually posed some recommendations that military could implement instead of completely discharging every single transgender service member out there. Agreeing with RAND, the Department of Defense, DoD, “could ensure strong leadership and identify and communicate the benefits of an inclusive and diverse workforce…” and also that “DoD should develop an explicit written policy on all aspects of the gender transition process to minimize any impact on service member or unit readiness.” There is no concrete reason that transgender people should be banned from serving in the U.S. military, and definitely not one that has to do with transgender people being less than human. Based on Trump’s actions, he has not only committed an act of discrimination but also inequality to a whole community in just three tweets. America’s own, President Donald Trump.

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