Transgender Individuals Cleared To Enlist – For Now

J. David AkeAP Images

It is probably one of the sweetest gifts to the LGBTQ community – specifically to transgender individuals looking to join the United States military.

Although President Donald Trump had tweeted back in July 2017 that transgender individuals would no longer be allowed to enlist in the United States military, Out reports that two United States appeals courts have blocked the Trump administration from extending the ban on transgender individuals joining the military beyond January 1, 2018.

Effectively, the tweet that sparked the “transgender ban” deemed that transgender individuals in the military were too much of a burden, at the very least from a financial standpoint, for the military to bear.

“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,” the July 26, 2017 series of tweets stated, per The Atlantic.

Bloomberg Politics reported that Republican-appointed Judge Marvin Garbis of Baltimore, Maryland said that Trump’s tweet was not reflective of anyone qualified to make decisions based on military appropriateness or changes of policy.

“A capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy changes,” Garbis stated in November 2017.

transgender
Nick Rondoletto, left, and Doug Thorogood, who hail from San Francisco, were on hand during a protest against a proposed ban of transgendered people in the military in a Castro District protest in late July 2017.Featured image credit: Olga R. RodriguezAP Images

Now that January 1, 2018 is earmarked as the date where transgender individuals could potentially enlist in the military if they should desire to do so, it is clear that the potential exists to see a positive shift as far as transgender rights are concerned in the United States. The proposed ban’s basis on financial grounds does not even make sense; out of a proposed $50 billion budget, it is estimated that medical costs involved in the transition of transgender individuals does not even comes to 1 percent of that figure. The big question is why? Put simply, not all individuals who identify as transgender will choose to go through surgical transition. In fact, according to Forbes,“According to data from the Defense Health Agency, DoD actually spent $41.6 million on Viagra — and $84.24 million total on erectile dysfunction prescriptions — last year.”

That number is actually ten times the projected amount on transition-related expenses, per a report from Military Times.

So, while the legal battles around transgender individuals in the military continues to be waged by the Justice Department, the right thing is actually being done – transgender individuals are continuing to be allowed to join the military, as they should. If someone wants to serve their country in such a fashion, should any country really worry too much about their soldiers’ gender identities or should they look at their ability to serve?