The Incirlik Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender committee gathered June 16, 2017 at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The committee hosted an LGBT lunch and Learn panel in which Airmen answered questions from their experiences as LGBT Airmen.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force, Airman 1st Class Kristan Campbell
By Lindsay Darbyshire
On a perfectly ordinary Wednesday, President Donald J. Trump blindsided America with a string of tweets announcing that “… the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
With the future of transgender soldiers hanging in the balance, Trump signed the official directive on Aug. 25, undermining the policy made by former President Barack Obama in June 2016 which allowed LGBTQ+ members to serve in the armed forces.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has requested a six month delay to further investigate the matter before he and the congress make a formal decision whether or not to reinstate the ban.
According to Trump, the “military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [people] in the military would entail.”
In other words, Trump is planning to exile honorable troops due to the fact that they are who they are. Since when did being true to yourself become a war crime? This is the ultimate form of discrimination.
In terms of the “tremendous medical costs” transgender troops would pose, a Washington Post interview with the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit organization that researches military involved matters, states that the most extreme case total would only increase 0.13 percent of health care costs. In reality, the armed forces spend almost five times as much on Viagra.
According to NBC, a study produced by the Palm Center and previous professors of the Naval Postgraduate School reveals that the imposed ban on transgender military members would actually cost $960 million, a total 100 times more than the yearly cost of medical services for transgender troops.
As for the “disruption” transgender soldiers cause in the military, the extraction and banning of troops would make it a great deal harder to stay “focused on decisive and overwhelming victory.”
According to CNN, The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that the number of transgender troops serving in the military rests at around 15,000. Identifying and removing this many people would be quite an operation and distraction from the training and strategizing taking place in the military to pursue a victory in battle.
Every person, no matter their sexual preference, physical appearance, or gender, deserves to serve for a country that accepts and respects them. Anyone willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and freedom of America should have the right to feel safe and free in America.
As the name entails, the citizens of the United States of America must stand together with no prejudice aimed at the hand they may be holding.
Discrimination is a type of toxicity that festers between relationships and divides people into a hierarchy of groups. Segregation builds up arms and image fabrication while tearing down the harmony of unification.
The U.S. military cannot construct a force to fight the enemy when it is using all of its energy to attack its own members. Banning transgender troops from fighting for their country is not a solution to a problem, it is a personal animosity directed at a group of people who only want to serve and protect their accusers.
If the president does not want the military to pay for the medical expenses of transgender soldiers, that is one thing. Trump and the pentagon must reach a common ground with the LGBTQ+ community.
It is essential that transgender troops have the opportunity to serve their country, but perhaps the military can cut medical spending on gender reassignment surgery and the like if the president deems this such an issue. Even cutting the spending on other commodities, such as Viagra, would lessen the overall costs the military faces without breaking down its own forces.
Taking such drastic measures over what studies have proven is a minor problem when faced with the grand scheme of things is ill advised.