It all started with a six-month delay to an Obama administration plan to let transgender recruits into the US military. President Obama had allowed trans people to serve openly in the military, but US Defence Secretary James Mattis has approved a delay of that policy because more time was needed to make a decision after consulting senior defence officials, adding that the delay "in no way presupposes an outcome".
In a series of tweets, Trump has announced the ban on transgender people in the military: “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.”
A study by the Rand Corporation last year, commissioned by the military, estimated that there were between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender active service members in a total force of 1.3 million, with an additional 1,500 to 4,000 among reserve units. Now, their status is uncertain. Almost all humanist organizations have condemned this announced ban on transgender people.
The Center For Inquiry was short on Twitter but after that they elaborated:
“Trump is singling out transgender Americans, a long-maligned group that is just now making significant gains toward equal treatment, to reward his supporters in the religious right who wish to stand against that progress,” said Robyn Blumner, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “President Trump has provided no justification as to why he would think the presence of transgender service members would somehow threaten the military’s ability to defend the United States.”
“What the president has done today is a step backward in efforts to ensure equality for all Americans,” said Blumner. “We stand proudly with the transgender community as an ally in the fight for equal treatment.”
American Atheists President David Silverman called it “cruel and disgusting“:
“The President is attacking trans members of our nation’s military, men and women who are already serving openly and bravely, as a way of shoring up his support among anti-equality religious bigots. This is a purely partisan decision that has no basis in fact or reality.”
Leaders at the American Humanist Association expressed their strong disapproval of President Trump’s banning transgender individuals from military service. “President Trump is dragging America backward with his attacks on transgender patriots in the military,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.
Photo Credits: ACLU Action