For better or for worse, President Trump has stopped a major cultural shift from occurring in the U.S. military.
On Wednesday, the president shocked the world and rocked Twitter when he tweeted that transgender individuals would no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military “in any capacity.” Along with putting a stop to open transgender service, the change will also render unnecessary the mandatory transgender sensitivity training sessions that military personnel were compelled to attend following a directive by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
While some thought that Trump’s decision was a radical and possibly discriminatory departure from administrations past, the Inquisitr notes that Trump was actually undoing a 2016 Obama rule that lifted the long-standing ban on transgender troops openly serving in the military. USA Today adds that before Obama’s Secretary of Defense lifted the transgender ban, such individuals were usually dismissed by the military based on medical concerns. Others hid their transgender identity in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” manner.
Along with welcoming transgender individuals to openly serve in the military, the Obama-era rule also gave the armed forces one year to implement transgender-inclusive policies for recruiting enlisted troops and commissioning officers. Part of this plan included a mandatory 50-minute sensitivity training that aimed to help military personnel “assist soldiers who have a medical diagnosis indicating that gender transition is medically necessary through the gender transition process.”
Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson adds, “The training module specifically outlines key roles and responsibilities of commanders, transgender soldiers, military medical providers and administrative management organizations.”
According to USA Today, the first meetings of the instructional session, entitled “Transgender Training,” were held in June and were attended by Army officers, non-commissioned officers, and even civilians who worked with soldiers. The army spokeswoman explained, “This training is mandatory for all uniformed members, as well as Department of the Army civilians.”
The full implementation of the new policies was supposed to begin on July 1, as per Secretary Carter’s directive. However, Army and Marine Corps officials asked for delays, with the Marine Corps requesting one year and the Army requesting two years to review how the changes would impact military readiness. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work stated in a May 31 memo that the Pentagon did not intend to abandon the transgender policies unless the acceptance of open transgender service members could “cause readiness problems that could lessen our ability to fight, survive and win on the battlefield.”
President Trump’s multi-part tweet appeared to touch on those exact issues, stating the following.
“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.”
With President Trump’s decision to reverse Obama’s embrace of open transgender service, these “Transgender Training” sessions will be rendered unnecessary, thus halting a major change to the culture of the military, which isn’t known for its embrace of diverse gender identities.
While no one knows the full extent of the effects of this action, the transgender military ban will likely have a ripple effect across the armed forces, causing a halt of Transgender Training as well as a cessation of any other policies intended to welcome transgender troops into the military.
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