When President Trump announced a rather vague plan to ban transgender men and women from serving in the American military a month ago, no one knew just what he had in mind. The statement, which seemed overtly political, lacked any details on implementation. Not anymore. A new memo has outlined his plan.
The memo, comprising more than two pages, instructs Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to evaluate consider a service member’s “deployability.” If they’re not deployable, then they are to be ejected from the military.
The Pentagon has six months to identify and remove “non-deployable” transgender service members. They must also stop recruiting and hiring transgender people and paying for the medical treatments associated with gender identity.
Back on July 26, Trump tweeted: “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 US 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 reversal is a 180 degree turn from the Obama era policy enacted in 2016 that allowed transgender service members to serve openly.
Reaction to this new ruling has been divisive. The Daily Mail spoke with Sue Fulton, “the former president of Sparta, a military organization for LGBT people that advocates for open service.”
“Transgender people are just as deployable as other service members,” Fulton said. “Other service members may undergo procedures when they are at home base, just as other service members schedule shoulder surgery or gall bladder surgery.”
She noted that there were no “ongoing treatments” required. “Thus there’s no difference between the deployability of transgender service members.”
Estimates on the numbers of service men and women this new policy will effect is open to debate. Studies point to a minimum of 1,300 soldier. The high end estimates are closer to 6,000.
Advocacy groups claim that there are more. Many believe there may be up to 11,000 people in the military who are transgender.
When Trump first tweeted about his decision, many stood up to him. One of those is Staff Sgt Logan Ireland (left). Staff Sgt. “I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military.” Ireland told the Air Force Times. “You are not going to deny me my right to serve my country when I am fully qualified and able and willing to give my life.”
The Daily Mail points to another example, a “transgender man – corporal who did not wish to be named. “I have never described myself as trans; I’m a motherfucking Marine. That’s all that matters. Don’t tarnish my title with your bigotry and fear of the unknown.”