Politics

Trump’s Ban on Transgender Military Service Condemned in Massachusetts

Local leaders slam the "bigoted, hateful decision" announced Wednesday.

Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr/Creative Commons

No surprises here, but President Trump’s announcement out of nowhere that he intends to ban all transgender people from serving in the military is not sitting well in Massachusetts, and has local politicians lashing out at what’s being called a “bigoted, hateful decision.”

Those were the words of House Speaker Bob DeLeo, who was among a chorus of critics here who were quick to jump on the surprise announcement this morning—which Trump has framed as a cost-cutting and efficiency measure but which his administration has reportedly said is designed to split Rust Belt voters on a divisive social issue.

The idea, articulated in a series of tweets from Trump Wednesday, is that all current and future military men and women who are transgender would be barred from serving “in any capacity in the U.S. Military” because the armed forces “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The RAND Corporation estimates there are as many as 6,630 transgender people currently serving in the military (the Human Rights Campaign estimates the number could be as high as 15,000). The RAND study also estimates that the added costs required to care for trans people would increase the health budget of the military by a fraction of a percentage point.

You may recall that arguments for limiting transgender rights are not typically supported by facts. For example assaults in bathrooms committed by people feigning a gender identity are, by and large, imaginary, but that nevertheless is at the center of debate about transgender rights legislation.

Trump’s proposed ban came one year after the lifting of a ban on trans people serving openly announced by Defense Secretary Ash Carter last summer, and follows a delay in the start of a policy that was supposed let people who already identify as transgender enlist beginning July 1.

Anyway, here is a quick survey of how this is playing at home:

Congressman Seth Moulton, a Marine who served in Iraq, issued a statement calling the move “wrong, morally and militarily.”

This policy is wrong, morally and militarily. President Trump is making the same argument used against keeping gays and lesbians and African Americans from serving. These are Americans who are willing to put their lives on the line for our country, which is far, far more than President Trump has ever been willing to do. Trump is trying to reverse civil rights, and I’m going to do whatever I can to stop him.