The Trump administration is going ahead with its promise of banning transgender troops from serving in the military.
The news came without warning to people familiar with the issues, but in no way it came as a surprise.
He announced that after consulting with “my Generals and military experts,” he would ban “transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S.,” adding that the military could not be “burdened” with any medical costs related to transgender troops.
In a memo signed by Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist Tuesday, the Department of Defense approved the administration’s long-wished-for ban, which will force individuals to serve in their birth gender, and also bar transgender personnel from transitioning to their self-identified gender.
The move could mean the discharge of an estimated 13,000 transgender troops, according to The Advocate.
The DoD has defended the policy, calling it “not a ban on service by transgender persons.” It claims that transgender Americans are welcome to serve in the military, as long as he/she/they serve in the gender he/she/they were assigned at birth.
But transgender rights activist and lawyer Chase Strangio said people need to be “extra vigilant with this administration.”
Strangio is as a staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project. He told the Daily News about seeing the Trump administration’s constant attacks on certain communities, while the White House works hard on its “efforts to obscure the reality of what they’re doing through subsequent statements and litigation positions.”
He compared this scenario with arguments that were commonly used by people who were against same-sex marriages: They are OK with gays and lesbians getting married, as long as the marriage occurs between two different genders.
“In this case they’re essentially saying that, in court and publicly, that ‘oh, it’s not a ban because as long as [transgender people] have never had any medical treatment, as long as they’ve never taken a step to transition, [they] can serve as long as they do so in their assigned sex.’” he said. However, “that literally defines a trans person.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi renewed her commitment to LGBTQ service members: “The House will continue to fight this discriminatory action, which has no place in our country. We will never allow hate and prejudice to dictate our national security,” she said in a statement Tuesday night.