Trump bans transgender people from serving in military

By AMANDA KARP
On April 22, 2019

Photo courtesy of Shealah Craighead, Wikipedia

President Trump has reversed one of the Obama’s administration’s policy that allowed transgender military personnel to openly serve while having access to mental health and medical care.

The policy, which was implemented on April 12, is in essence, an updated “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy from the Clinton era. According to an NBC News article, anyone who has gender dysphoria and is “currently taking hormones or who has undergone gender affirmation surgery will not be allowed to enlist.”

The Department of Defense told reporters that, “Merely identifying as transgender has no practical military consequence,” while President Trump has repeatedly stated, “This is not a ban.”

Although transgender service members already in service can continue, receive hormone treatments and undergo gender affirmation surgery, this new policy, in everything but name only, is a ban.

Many organizations have come out in opposition of this new policy, with the American Medical Association (AMA) being one at the forefront.

“The only thing deficient is any medical science behind this decision,” the AMA said in a statement. “The AMA has said repeatedly that there is no medically valid reason — including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — to exclude transgender individuals from military service. Transgender service members should, as is the case with all personnel, receive the medical care they need. There is a global medical consensus about the efficacy of transgender health care, including treatment for gender dysphoria.”

With 14,700 transgender service members currently in service, this is a step in the wrong direction, as the policy will “likely force the military to eventually discharge transgender individuals who need hormone treatments,” eliminating service members from an already marginalized group.

In Feb., Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., highlighted this sentiment when she stated that the policy “would cost us recruits at a time when so few Americans are willing to serve.”

To President Trump, transgender service members are nothing but a burden, as July 26, 2017 Tweets details, “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.”

This is wrong. President Trump has a few, if any, redeeming qualities that surround his presidency, and this action is just another mark to prove that he is incredibly insensitive to the diversity that should exist in this country’s military.

 Implementing this policy will only enforce the idea that people within the LGBT community, especially those who identify as transgender or under any other non-cisgender identity, that they should be barred and punished from seeking out employment simply because of their gender identity.

This policy should have no place in our society. For too long, we have watched this country be shaped by fear, discrimination and a lack of understanding and empathy for things we do not understand.

We are only sending ourselves further back in time when what we should be displaying as a nation is a sense of community and support for those who would give their lives for our safety.

 

akarp@ramapo.edu

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