The President of United States, Donald Trump announced on 27 July 2017 that the US government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.
The announcement was made by Trump through a series of tweets on his official Twitter account. He said that the decision was taken after consultation with Generals and military experts.
“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. Thank you,” he said in his concluding tweet.
With the move, Trump has reinstated the ban that his predecessor, former Democratic President Barack Obama lifted last year allowing transgender individuals to openly serve in the military.
The then Defence Secretary Ashton Carter had argued while announcing the decision on 30 June 2016 that the US Defence Department and the military needed to avail themselves of all talent possible in order to remain the finest fighting force the world has ever known.
The reversed decision has hence, put a full stop on the years of efforts that had gone into eliminating barriers to military service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Trump, who in his presidential campaign vowed to fight for the rights of LGBT, surprised everyone with this regressive announcement.
• While he has definitely impressed the Conservatives with his decision, he has drawn a lot of flak from LGBTQ groups, several lawmakers along with the Democrats and even some of the Republicans.
• His posts have also drawn condemnation from leading corporate figures including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Apple CEO Tim Cook, all of whom spoke out against Trump’s decision with the hashtag “#LetThemServe”.
• The supporters of the cause argue that transgender individuals are already serving in uniform and have had no negative impact on the military.
The announcement leaves in the lurch the future of thousands of transgender individuals already serving in the military, as their fate is yet to be decided.
Speaking on the decision, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the move was based on a "military decision" and is "not meant to be anything more than" that. She further added that transgender service "erodes military readiness and unit cohesion" citing health costs and that the decision was made based "on what was best for the military" and was made in council with the President's national security team.
While there is no definitive data on the number of transgender service members, according to RAND, a US global policy think tank, there are about 2500 transgender individuals serving among 1.3 million active-duty service members and about 1500 among 825,000 reserve service members.
Who: Donald Trump
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