President Donald Trump, in his short stay in office, has made a number of decisions that have left many astonished. In July this year, Trump sent out a series of tweets that announced transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve openly in the military. The pronouncement sent a wave of shock and sadness across the transgender community. Intense reactions emerged from transgender veterans, some of whom had to hide their identity while in uniform and hoped they would be the last generation to do so.
A transgender woman who served as a scout sniper in the 1980s, Sasha Buchert, said it was an insult to transgender service members. Another transgender woman who served in the Navy in the 1990s, Alaina Kupec said her heart hurts for the transgender soldiers and sailors around the world.
This decision reverses the policy put in place by Barack Obama a year ago. It is hard to tell if this is a personal attack on the past administration or a “distraction” as the president termed it. Since coming into power, President Trump has been pushing to reverse many of the policies laid down by the past administration including repealing Obamacare. Trump’s tweet, which came in three parts, read:
“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.”
Source: Fox 10
The current confusion is the fate of the transgender veterans that are currently serving. Will they be thrown out or allowed to complete their service? Answering a related question, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said:
“That’s something that the department of defense and the White House will have to work [on] together, as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully. The president has a lot of support for all Americans at all times.”
Source: The Guardian
This decision is undoubtedly going to have a huge impact on the nation’s military. Albeit there is no official figure on the number of transgender people currently bravely serving their country, but it is estimated that the figure could be as high as 10,000. A study from the Williams Institute estimated that about 150,000 transgender individuals have served or are currently serving in the military.
The fate of transgender veterans currently serving is still unknown, but it is unlikely that they will be thrown out as that would likely spark a widespread protest, and rightly so. In addition, let me also say that I agree with John McCain on one thing –major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter.