26 Jul

Trump announces ban on transgender servicemembers … in a series of three tweets

YOUNGSTOWN, OH - JULY 25: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a rally at the Covelli Centre on July 25, 2017 in Youngstown, Ohio. The rally coincides with the Senates vote on GOP legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

Remember when Donald Trump was going to be the Republican who didn’t hate LGBT people? He even promised to be better than Hillary on LGBT issues!

About that. Under President Obama, transgender people already serving in the military were allowed to come out and the process was started to allow transgender people to enlist. Trump postponed that process, and Wednesday morning he took to Twitter to make an announcement: yeah, he’s bringing discrimination back in.

This announcement comes weeks after far-right House Republicans failed to pass an amendment denying funding for transition-related medical treatment for transgender troops or transgender military family members, an effort based on fake numbers that it seems Trump bought into:

To justify that blatantly discriminatory act, Hartzler* has seemingly invented the statistic that trans military service will cost the military $1.35 billion over the first ten years. Her office has refused to respond to multiple ThinkProgress requests for the source of that figure, which is 16 times higher than the highest estimates the RAND Corporation calculated. The Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, has since estimated figures even higher.

Trump’s move also comes days after former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Adm. Mike Mullen called on Congress to allow transgender troops and provide them needed medical care.

* Hartzler Statement on NDAA Amendment to Reverse Obama Transgender Policy

June 29, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, DC) — Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler made the following statement after the House Armed Services Committee markup of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. Hartzler offered an amendment for discussion repealing the policy instituted during the Obama Administration which allows transgender individuals to serve and be recruited in the military. Following debate Hartzler withdrew the amendment to give the DoD an opportunity to address this problem internally, reserving the right to proceed with this effort on the House floor in July.

“The Obama transgender policy, which was implemented without input from Members of Congress, is ill-conceived and contrary to our goals of increasing troop readiness and investing defense dollars into addressing budget shortfalls of the past,” said Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “By recruiting and allowing transgender individuals to serve in our military we are subjecting taxpayers to high medical costs including up to $130,000 per transition surgery, lifetime hormone treatments, and additional surgeries to address the high percentage of individuals who experience complications,” added Hartzler. She noted surgeries alone could cost $1.35 billion over the next 10 years. For perspective, examples of other things the DoD could spend $1.35 billion on include 13 F-35’s, 14 Super Hornet F-18’s, 2 B-21 long-range strike bombers, 8 KC-46’s, all A-10 wing replacements or increased end strength of our troops.

“This policy is costly and a threat to our readiness. The deployability of individuals going through the sex transition process is highly problematic, requiring 210 to 238 work days where a soldier is non-deployable after surgery. This recovery time equates to 1.4 million manpower days where transgender personnel cannot deploy and fight our nation’s wars, therefore relying on an already stressed force to pick up the burden. It makes no sense to purposely recruit individuals who cannot serve. Transgendered individuals undergoing treatment are not eligible for special duties like flying status, personnel reliability program, and jobs requiring certain Security Clearances.”

“This is also an issue of fairness.  Currently we refuse entrance into our armed forces for lesser physical issues, such as flat feet, bunions, asthma, and sleep walking. I had a constituent denied entrance into the JAG program because she had a bunion, yet accession standards are set to be modified to allow transgendered individuals into a military where they will be unable to fully serve. This is a senseless and highly unfair double standard.”

“Military service is a privilege — not a right — predicated on the singular goal of fighting and winning our nation’s wars. All decisions on personnel and funding should be made with this in mind. High entry and retention standards are required because failure in the job costs lives. Last year’s transgender decision is costly in dollars and short on common sense.”

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