I am sure you all heard the news regarding our president’s tweet regarding how transgender individuals are banned from serving in the military.
Thankfully tweets are not executive orders and according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Joseph Dunford, “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance”.
Why this president does anything is beyond my comprehension, but the reasoning behind this statement relates to the financial burden that a transgender soldier would put on the American people.
First of all, this statement is not accurate. According to The Atlantic, “The military has not historically covered gender-transition surgeries”. The article cited goes on to explain that if the military did cover such operations, “That cost would be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually for transition-related costs, according to a RAND analysis commissioned by the Department of Defense. The group estimated there are between 1,320 and 6,630 active-duty transgender servicepeople currently. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2015 put the number at 12,800 people and $4.2 million to $5.6 million, concluding that “doctors agree that such care is medically necessary.”
This would be a military health-care spending increase of 0.04 to 0.13 percent. Even in the most extreme case, it is one tenth of the annual $84 million that the military spends on medication for erectile dysfunction.
Having a world leader make such inaccurate and damaging statements is scary enough, but this perpetuates the belief that transgender people are a burden of any sort, as well as the belief that all transgender people want to transition and undergo surgery.
This is disheartening, especially when it seems to me that we have made such large strides in the last few years and a statement like this just knocks us back. There’s not much we can do to stop people with a Twitter account making such inaccurate and misleading statements, but there’s always something we can to fight back against stereotypes and hatred.
We can sign many of the petitions online demanding that any such bad would be reversed.
Although signing a petition may seem like it has little impact it is encouraging to see so many people supporting our community.
We can donate to Outserve. OutServe-SLDN is the association for actively serving LGBT military personnel and veterans. We are a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America’s military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
I am not making being transgender political. Politicans are. We just want to live our lives and not have our basic human rights diminished. Being transgender, I believe, means being obligated to fighting back against hatred and stereotypes. How anyone can be transgender and Republican in this political climate is beyond me. How one can stand by an organization that, intentionally or not, makes such damaging statements is beyond my comprehension. I know that standing by a political party is more than just its opinion on one issue, but this statement was damaging, wildly inaccurate and hurtful.
Being trans is a huge part of who I am. I make decisions on where to eat and shop based on their stance on the LGBTQ community. I will never eat at Chick-fil-A, for example. Supporting an organization that has such a low opinion of who I am is not deserving of my money, my time or my vote.
Your perspective may vary.