On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, President Trump announced on Twitter that transgender individuals would not be allowed to serve in the 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.”
This decision, made by President Trump with guidance from military advisors including Secretary of Defense General Mattis, effectively overturns any prior transgender military policies, such as the one put in place by President Obama. Under Obama’s policy, the Pentagon would cover all medical costs affiliated with the gender transition process for any service member.
In June of last year, Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ash Carter stated: “Starting today: Otherwise qualified service members can no longer be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied reenlistment or continuation of service just for being transgender.”
The Transgender Service Policy of the United States Army via Ft. Campbell briefing previously stated the following:
- The Army allows transgender Soldiers to serve openly
- The Army is open to all who can meet the standards for military service and remains committed to treating all Soldiers with dignity and respect while ensuring good order and discipline
- All Soldiers must maintain Army standards, good order and discipline at all times
- Transgender Soldiers are subject to the same standards as any other Soldier with the same DEERS gender marker*
- An otherwise qualified Soldier shall not be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity
- Ensure all Soldiers are treated with dignity and respect at all times
With these policies now overturned, many questions arise as to whether or not this transgender blanket ban is justified. And like anything else, arguments have arisen from both sides of the issue. Here are a few examples from both sides:
Veteran John Burk also had some comments in a video he posted on Facebook, saying that “the military is not a social experiment. For a very small demographic of people that want to enlist, you cannot change the course of how the entire organization works.”
The ban of transgender people entering the military shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. According to the American Psychiatric Association, gender dysphoria does qualify as a mental illness, and it makes complete sense that anyone suffering from a mental illness should be barred from military service. In fact, there are many mental illnesses that disqualify applicants from entering the armed services.
Clearly, this issue is not black and white. However, to risk the effectiveness of a mission just to cater to a very small minority of the military population in the name of social justice is beyond absurd. Running an effective military is one of our government’s greatest responsibilities, so there has to be a strict standard that cannot be crossed. While I do strongly commend and appreciate an individual’s willingness to sacrifice their life for our country, I also recognize that not everyone is fit to do so. The strength of our military comes first. Thus, anything that has the potential to weaken that strength does not belong in the armed forces, and political correctness certainly has no place in a governmental department whose top priority is defending our country and its citizens.