Donald Trump announced the reversal of Obama’s decision to allow transgender troops to serve Wednesday through his usual line.


President Obama’s administration had given military services until July 1st to create policies concerning transgender troops. Military chiefs argued that it wasn’t enough time. The day before the deadline,  Defense Secretary James N. Mattis delayed the implementation of any policies by 6 months. He claimed that the delay “in no way presupposes the outcome” and that the Chiefs simply needed the extra months to study how transgender people are being harassed/discriminated against.

Brad Carson, a former congressman who worked on transgender policy deliberations under the Obama administration, thinks differently. In an interview Wednesday he said he believed the delays “left the door open” to Trump’s policy reversal.

“That being said, just from the tweets it seems as if what he is doing is rolling back already implemented policies, which will force out several hundred openly transgender service members out of the military. This will be a personal tragedy for them, but it will be a professional loss for the military, and it’s going to invite litigation that will distract the Department of Defense for months, if not years, to come.”

Carson also called Donald Trump out on a lie he told when writing the tweets. Trump said that he consulted with his “Generals and military experts,” insinuating agreement that transgender troops are a problem. Carson, however, says he spoke to “every single chief” while he was creating transgender policy and that none wanted a full ban.

“I said, ‘Here’s the threshold question: Do you want to separate transgender service members? Do you want to do that?’ And every single one of them said no. Now, maybe we can disagree about the fine points of accession policy or what kind of health care is provided, but that question of whether we should be separating able, competently serving service members, every single one of them said no.”

Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a leading think-tank which studies gender and sexuality in the military, told BBC that this decision would force transgender troops to live as gays and lesbians did under “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“Don’t ask, don’t tell was a disastrous policy that harmed the military for almost two decades,” he said. “It’s not clear why the president would want to bring it back now for transgender troops when all the evidence suggests that inclusive policy benefits the military and discrimination hurts the military.”

According to a Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department, there are around 11,000 transgender people in active duty and the reserves. Trump did not elaborate on how transgender people already serving would be treated.

Image result for trump tweet about supporting lgbt people

Trump has flip-flopped on his support of the LGBT+ community in speeches, but in actions has never been an ally. During the campaign, he claimed that he would support the LGBT community more than Clinton. As soon as he was in office, however, he rolled back protections for transgender children in schools, removed LGBTQ content from the White House website, failed to acknowledge pride month, and more.

Obviously, his alliance to the LGBTQ community was a ploy to get himself elected. Keeping along his shady lines, the timing of this announcement may also be a political ploy. With the Russia scandal making impeachment seem more and more like a possibility, Trump needs a distraction and more support. By announcing this transphobic move, Trump may be attempting to re-solidify his support among hard-line conservatives.

The main argument Trump makes to rationalize his decision is the cost of transgender troops medical procedures. As usual, the facts don’t back him up. Last year, a Defense Department-commissioned study by the Rand Corp. estimated that gender-related transition treatments only cost the military between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually. In comparison, Donald Trump has spent $29m of taxpayers dollars on trips to Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster and the military spends $84 million on erectile dysfunction medicines annually.

Let it be noted that this decision comes from Donald Trump, who received multiple deferments to avoid military service, at the start of the White House’s “American Heroes Week.”