President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military “in any capacity” ― a stunning reversal of an Obama-era policy that affects thousands of service members.
"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 U.S. 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." The move was wholly unexpected. It’s not clear why Trump decided to announce such a significant policy change via Twitter or when it would take effect. His timing is also odd: He shared the news in the midst of Senate Republicans’ high-stakes fight to repeal Obamacare this week. Trump claims he made the move after consulting with military experts, despite the Pentagon lifting the ban on transgender service members in 2016 after an exhaustive review of its military readiness policies. “Our mission is to defend this country, and we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission,” then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said. “We have to have access to 100% of America’s population for our all-volunteer force to be able to recruit from among them the most highly qualified — and to retain them.” The biggest question is what the news means for the thousands of transgender men and women currently serving in the military. There are
between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender people in active military service, a Rand Corp. study estimates. Another group, the Palm Center, put the number as high as 15,500 a few years ago. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders couldn’t give any details later Wednesday when she was asked what will happen to the transgender troops currently serving overseas or when the ban will take effect. During her daily press briefing, she repeatedly said the White House and the Defense Department will work out those specifics.
Asked about Trump’s pledge as a candidate to fight for the LGBTQ community, Sanders said his decision to ban transgender troops was about “military readiness” and that the president “has been very clear he’s committed to fighting for all Americans.” As more questions poured in, Sanders said she would end the briefing if reporters didn’t ask about other topics. Source: