Towards the end of July 2017, President Trump announced his decision to ban transgender people from the military via Twitter. This controversial declaration engendered a plethora of mixed feedback from both civilians and government officials. Likewise, military supervisors and personnel had much to say, as well.
As reported by The Hill, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer made the following statements last night about transgender military service:
“We will process and take direction of a policy that is developed by the [Defense] secretary [with] direction from the president and march out smartly. On a fundamental basis, any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military.”
President Trump shared a contrasting viewpoint yesterday, stating that his proposed ban on transgender military service was actually doing the military a favor: “It’s been a very complicated issue for the military, it’s been a very confusing issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favor.”
While the President is correct on a plethora of issues, such as building the wall along the Southern border, repealing [and replacing] Obamacare, and more, the ban on transgender military service is where President Trump is wrong. For starters, the aforementioned prohibition clashes with American values. As the Navy Secretary stated, anyone who wishes to serve and is able to pass the necessary tests should be allowed to do so. How foolish would it be to mandate that an entire group of people are barred from military service, even if they pass the requirements, simply because they are transgender?
Furthermore, there are currently thousands of transgender military service members who are serving admirably to defend America’s freedoms. If a legitimate issue with transgender military service existed, it would have surfaced. Those who advocate for the ban on transgender military service often cite the funding of gender reassignment surgeries as their supporting reason. Do these people realize that terminating funding for sex change surgeries is possible without eliminating an entire group of people from defending our country?
By no means should the military be funding gender reassignment surgeries. If someone truly feels uncomfortable in the body which they were born and wants to “switch,” they have every right to do so. However, they pursue this course of action on their dime instead of expecting taxpayers to foot the bill. The military should be 100% focused on keeping America strong and safe.
Another argument used by people in favor of banning transgender military service is “gender dysphoria is a mental illness” and “their suicide rates are higher.” What these people fail to acknowledge is the reality that military suicide rates are alarmingly high in general. Critics who cite gender dysphoria as an argument fail to take the existing requirements which must be met to join the military into account. Obviously, there are many transgender Americans who have met these regulations and continue to serve admirably to this day.
Banning transgender people from the military is a very dangerous slippery slope. If transgender people are banned, why not ban women also? After all, women are generally more emotional than men and have monthly periods which impacts their body chemistry. Are they, too, a liability? The only changes made in the military should be the termination of funding for gender reassignment surgeries. That is all. People who successfully meet the current requirements to serve in the military should be allowed to do so.
Yet another gaping flaw in banning transgender people from serving in the military manifests in the form of finances. According to AOL, replacing transgender service members would amount to approximately $960 million. In other words, the costs of replacing transgender troops in the military is roughly $75,000 for each individual which is more than the yearly cost of $656 for sex change surgeries. As previously stated, the military should not be funding gender reassignment operations, but an altogether ban on transgender troops worsens the situation dramatically.
The decision to spend $960 million on such unnecessary reform would be a disgrace. President Trump has a plethora of excellent ideas where such funding could be put to excellent use. Let us spend $960 million to heal our nation by building a wall, cracking down on the use of opioids, etc, instead of putting the funds towards what is not broken
Quite frankly, the likelihood of the transgender military service ban coming to fruition is extremely low. Many Americans do not support this reform. The military itself does not support the proposed reform and has actively spoken out against it. Out of the countless issues in America, banning transgender people from serving in the military should not be on the list.
The above text is, in no way, an attack on the President of the United States. Mr. Trump is doing an excellent job in office and has achieved countless feats such as the stagnation of ISIS, an influx of over one million jobs, and much more. While the ban on transgender military service is wrong, agreeing with every single decision proposed by a President is impossible. However, in the case of transgender military service, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer summed up the correct approach flawlessly: