WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Wednesday that the U.S. government has decided to reinstate the country’s ban on open transgenders serving in the military, advising that the issue is a distraction and would place a burden on the finances of the Armed Forces.
“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,” he tweeted this morning. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgenders in the military would entail. Thank you.”
The announcement reverses the decision under the Obama administration as then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter had advised in June 2016 that the Pentagon would lift the longstanding ban on open transgenders in the military. Carter set July 1, 2017 as the deadline for implementation, but on the eve of the date, current Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a statement outlining that the matter would be pushed back six months to give additional time to determine whether or not the Obama-era policy would negatively affect military readiness.
“Since becoming the secretary of defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: will the decision affect the readiness and lethality of the force?” he said. “Put another way, how will the decision affect the ability of America’s military to defend the nation? It is against this standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender individuals into the military services.”
Earlier this month, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva explained during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that the “decision to delay the accessions of transgender individuals into the services was largely based on a disagreement on the science of how mental health care and hormone therapy for transgender individuals would help solve the medical issues that are associated with gender dysphoria.”
The policy under Carter was to have included federal payment of the “gender transition” treatments of transgender soldiers, and troops were required to attend mandatory briefings in anticipation of the policy implementation.
However, Christian organizations have expressed hopes that the military would scrap the plan altogether as it raised a number of concerns.
“Americans need to know the extreme implications of this policy,” Chaplain Col. (Ret.) Ron Crews of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty said last year following a conference call with Pentagon officials. “Do we want our sons and daughters to be forced to share showers and sleeping spaces in a ‘mixed genitalia’ environment with no recourse for objections of conscience?”
“Spending billions of dollars on transgender surgeries and treatment plans, when the military has other priorities that would actually ensure its effectiveness in war, is irresponsible,” Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, who now works with Family Research Council, also remarked earlier this month.
“However, the cost to readiness, recruitment, retention, morale and cohesion will be even greater,” he said. “Secretary Mattis and Congress need to ensure the priorities of the U.S. armed forces remain those that the secretary has outlined: mission readiness, command proficiency, and combat effectiveness. These should be the new priorities, not the last administration’s social engineering projects that ignore military readiness.”