Trump tweets to target transgenders

people-2575608_640Has tweeting replaced the lawmaking process in the United States? President Donald Trump seems to think so. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted his thoughts about transgender people who serve in the military. He shocked the social media world with his want to stop people who identify as transgender from serving in the U.S military. One of his tweets from his chain of tweets read “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.” He also mentioned that he had consulted with his Generals and military experts before making this decision. This tweet surprised the public, but it was actually in response to a current debate on Capitol Hill of whether or not taxpayer money should pay for gender transition and hormone therapy.

However, Trump’s rash actions of tweeting caused the argument to turn into whether or not transgender people should even be able to serve in the military instead of just stopping the bill that allows taxpayer money to pay for gender transitioning and hormone therapy (which is what the debate was actually about). Now, the issue has exploded and there is a possibility of the banning of transgender people from serving in the military.

Although Trump’s tweet has made banning transgender people from the military possible, nothing can legally be done until the White House officially and legally notifies the Pentagon. (Sorry, Trump. Looks like your tweets can’t do the job). As of now, there has only been a tweet about the ban. No official legal documents have been created. Until legal steps are taken towards the ban, the U.S military will continue to perform under the current laws, which allow for current members of the LGBTQ community to serve openly in the U.S Military. This was made possible under the Obama Administration with the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy, which was a (poor) attempt at equality by republicans. Members of the LGBTQ community were allowed to serve, but they were threatened with being kicked out if they expressed their sexuality and/or gender identity. Obama took this metaphorical closet away and created true equality within the military (Thanks Obama!).

However, Trump’s tweet could possibly undo all of this. If legal action is taken to push the ban, the gradual transformation of the military under President Barack Obama could be reversed. There is uncertainty of what will happen to current members of the military who openly identify with the LGBTQ community. Despite there just being a tweet, the idea of a transgender ban has become a threat to transgenders (well, all members of the LGBTQ community) in the military. If this policy goes through, it is possible that every transgender person will be discharged from the military, which would mean about 1.3 million people now serving would be discharged. Compared to the whole of the U.S Military, this number does not have much significance.

Despite the low population of transgenders in the military, Trump claims that allowing them to serve in the military cost too much money. The “costs” he is referring to are the medical expenses that go towards gender transition surgeries and hormone therapy. Military expenses currently pay for these services and most military expenses come from U.S taxes. However, it is questionable if this is the only reason behind the ban, since transition care is estimated to cost $5.6 million a year out of the 447.8 billion the military has as an annual healthcare budget. That is a lot of money for the military’s health care budget (more than what most American civilians receive), so it is hard to see costs as the issue here. Is Trump’s concern truly about costs OR is it about transgenders serving in the military? Trump is a republican leader whose ideas are all over the place. Although he may have once “supported” the LGBTQ community, it is obvious where his priorities truly lie. He can’t expect to ban an entire minority of people from serving in the military with the statement that they cost too much.

An ongoing concern for those against the service of openly transgender people in the military is the questionable mental stability of these members. Some also believe that allowing open transgender people to serve is a social experiment at the expense of national security. Many who are opponents of transgenders in the military claim they have a mental disability known as gender dysphoria. This is a common claim by those who are not in support of transgenders in the military, however, the claim is made out of misunderstanding. Gender dysphoria is when a person experiences distress when their physical, birth-assigned sex does not match their inner sense of what their own gender is or should be and is normally experienced before transition. Also, not all transgender people experience gender dysphoria. The mental disorder known as gender dysphoria is often misunderstood, which creates stigmas towards those who identify as transgender as well as those who suffer from mental illness. These stigmas allow for the common misunderstanding of transgender people being mentally unfit to serve in the military.

Despite the support for the recent tweet, there has been a tremendous amount of support for the LGBTQ community. Protesters say this is a violation of civil rights and wonder how a ban like this could even be legal. For one, the ban was created through a tweet and secondly, it is banning an ENTIRE minority from the military (how is that not violating civil rights?). If this goes through. Who’s to say he won’t ban another minority group (like women) from serving in the military? The civil rights movement has done right by many Americans, but now it seems as if we might be moving backwards. The LGBTQ community finally gained rights within the military, only to have them possibly be taken away.

Many military members, as well as veterans, have spoken up about Trump’s proposed (tweeted) policy. Although there are those who support the ban, 56 retired admirals and generals recently signed a letter that stated that transgender military members “must not be dismissed, deprived of medically necessary health care, or forced to compromise their integrity or hide their identity,” in response to Trump’s tweet and the uproar it caused. This support, shown by these retired admirals and generals, helps challenge the policy and perhaps spark others to stand with the LGBTQ community. Americans also seem to be questioning the ban. Recently after the tweet, a poll found that 68% of American voters think that transgender people should be allowed to serve (interesting note: 55% of the voters are from military households). This poll reassures that at least more than half of the American population that voted in this poll do not agree with Trump.

Up until this point, it was unimaginable that a tweet could become a law. It is possible that the policy will never become legal, however we must be aware of the reasons behind the ban. Trumpʻs recent twitter spree has made him a threat to the LGBTQ community, not just in the military, but in America.


2 Responses to “Trump tweets to target transgenders”

  1. It is sad to think that all these years of progress for the LGBTQ community could be reversed by President Trump. What benefits would we have out of this? What would President Trump do with the extra $5.6 million/year? What would be the indirect consequences of having a transgender ban in the military? Could Americans view this ban as an example that transgender people aren’t equal to other people?

    Although this ban is not in effect, the discrimination that exudes from President Trump’s tweet is indicative of his attitude towards not only the LGBTQ community, but other minority groups as well.


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