By: Abbey Morelli, Contributor
President Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender citizens from serving in the military was the perfect way to ruin the last few weeks of summer. July 26th, 2017, marked the day when thousands of people would wake up, check their twitter accounts, and be greeted with this nightmare:
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. 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,” tweeted Trump.
The mere fact that he considers the cost of medical procedures “a burden” should make one’s skin crawl. A 2016 study by the Defense Department announced that the number of transgender individuals serving in the military at that time was not great enough to cause significant effects in health care expenditures.
The number of transgender individuals serving in the United States military ranges from around 4,000 to 10,000 people. They will no longer be receiving health care for no reason other than the fact that they were born the wrong biological gender. They did not make this choice, and no one should be allowed to take away their choice to serve their country.
The ban limits their way of making a living, protecting their country, and most importantly, it infringes on their right to live in the body that they were meant to have. Each year, over 300,000 United States citizens apply to serve in the army, navy, and air force. Since Donald Trump’s abrupt decision, our country is losing up to 1,800 service men and women, as they will no longer be considered eligible to serve.
President Trump has officially signed a directive prohibiting new transgender recruits from joining any branch of the military. The directive also states that the Pentagon can no longer pay for the medical treatment of current transgender service members. It is our civic duty to look into our presidential candidates and make educated decisions on what they are capable of doing. This leap away from progress should never have been a possibility.
A group of former military service secretaries has supported a lawsuit to challenge the ban. Eric Fanning, Raymond Mabus Jr., and Deborah Lee James, who served as former Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, are all working to prove Trump’s decision to be unconstitutional discrimination. This, coupled with the responses from politicians, celebrities and millions of everyday twitter users to Donald Trump’s initial tweets, should give us a bit of hope that this decision will be reversed. In a time in which our country has made so much progress, President Trump is only working to set us back again. It is our right and duty to prevent future disasters from happening in this country.