US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced his decision to bar transgender people from joining the military saying that it is not feasible to bear the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” they cause. “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.”
Trump in a tweet on Tuesday said, “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.”
It is not clear whether transgender individuals, numbering from 2,500 to 7,000 people already serving in the US military, would be pushed out.
The US military consists of approximately 2,500 to 7,000 transgender people out of a total of 1.3 million active duty service members. Earlier this year, in June, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis had ordered a delay of six months in recruiting transgenders in the armed services, a plan initiated by former President Barack Obama.
The US has, in the past three months, been witnessing a rise in differences over the issue of transgender rights in the country. The matter came into focus with the Trump administration reversing federal protections, put in place during Obama’s tenure, which ordered the schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity. The students were earlier bound to use the bathrooms according to the gender on their birth certificate.
In June this year, the Pentagon deferred the recruitment of transgenders until January 1, saying “review their accession plans and provide input on the impact to the readiness and lethality of our forces.”
However, the different military services had varied view on when to accept transgender recruits. Spokeswoman Dana White said last week, “Different services had different takes. Some asked for time… there were all kinds of different recommendations.”