President Donald Trump issued a tweet on July 26 that encouraged a ban on transgender citizens enlisting in the military. President Trump reasoned that America’s military “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory” and included it would not be sufficient to allow transgender individuals to enlist in the military, as the government would “be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
The United States however was built on principles which state all men are created equal, and by segregating those who are transgender from joining the military, Trump goes against what this nation is based on.
These principles, therefore, allow transgender citizens to have the right to self express themselves how they want. The main purpose for each branch of the United States military is to keep America safe. All citizens or resident aliens of the United States above the age of 17 with a high school diploma and a successful physical exam have the opportunity to join the service. As of right now, these requirements are still what needs to be completed for one to enlist in the services. African Americans were denied enlistment in the military in the 1800’s, as they were another group whose equality was tested, but they later gained their rights to join the service. By excluding transgender individuals, America is depriving them of their natural rights and taking away the equality they were guaranteed.
Trump is supposed to represent our country—a country that has ideals to make America an inclusive power, but how inclusive is it to prohibit transgender people to join the military?
The RAND (“research and development”) Corporation, a nonprofit American global policy that offers research to the Armed forces, estimates there are about 6,600 transgenders on active duty and over 4,100 in the reserves. About one-fifth of the transgender population are military veterans. In an open letter written by fifty-six retired Officers, they stated that the transgender ban “would cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie.” This discrimination forces our transgender community to not enlist, which could put our military at a disadvantage by denying potential talent. The alternative is for transgenders to lie about their sexual orientation, which imposes a dangerous precedent on transgender citizens who would have interest in the military.
Since the tweet has been delivered, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled the suggestion of the ban by President Trump as unconstitutional and unjust.
“There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all,” said Judge Kollar-Kotelly.
This ruling is a step in the right direction, as this appeal prohibits transgender individuals serving in the current military to be discharged and allows them to re-enlist. Though this encourages supporters, this discriminating ban leads Americans to fear the future and the evolving role of the presidency. If Trump tries to exclude transgender citizens now, it leaves people wondering what our President will do next.