Last week, Trump shocked everyone when he sent a series of tweets announcing a ban on transgender servicemembers—but, fortunately, the backlash has been strong and swift. As the truth slowly came out about the decision, which blind-sighted other folks in his own administration, servicemembers are taking a stand against Trump’s harmful rhetoric.
In a statement released by The Palm Center, which researches gender and sexuality issues in the military, 56 retired generals and admirals made their opposition to Trump’s ban public. In the letter, they argue that the ban would be an awful idea because it’d make troops less safe by reducing military readiness.
This proposed ban, if implemented, 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, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy.
They also blew Trump’s woefully inaccurate claim that health care for transgender individuals is too expensive.
The RAND Corporation, as well as research in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the financial cost of providing health care to transgender troops would be, at most, $8.4 million per year. This amounts to one one-hundredth of one percent of the military's annual health care budget. As for ostensible disruptions, transgender troops have been serving honorably and openly for the past year, and have been widely praised by commanders. Eighteen foreign nations, including the UK and Israel, allow transgender troops to serve, and none has reported any detriment to readiness.
The day after Trump’s tweets, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said the military isn’t making any changes until Trump makes an official order to the people who would actually implement his discriminatory policy. The Pentagon still hasn’t gotten official word—though the White House insists they’ve started reaching out to them to work on codifying the ban.