On Wednesday, Donald Trump announced on Twitter that his administration would be reversing the previous Obama administration’s decision to allow transgender individuals into the US military:
“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 cost and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
The decision has been met with negative reactions from both Democrats and from disgraced soldier Chelsea Manning (who was convicted of releasing classified documents to Wikileaks and received a pardon from Barack Obama, presumably because he was transgender). Californian Democrat Senator Kamala Harris referred to it as “discrimination, plain and simple”, whilst Manning tweeted:
“So, biggest, baddest, most $$ military on earth cries about a few trans people but funds the F-35? Sounds like cowardice”
In June, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis made the decision to delay the Obama administration’s decision by six months to give military service chiefs the chance to review whether allowing transgender people to enlist would affect the military’s capabilities.
The order to allow transgender people to serve openly in the US Military, undergo gender reassignment surgery (paid for by the military), and change their gender in Pentagon systems. Under the decision, military service personnel could not be involuntarily separated, discharged, or denied re-enlistment purely only the basis of their gender identity.