The Tweeter-in-Chief has issued another harebrained decision, this one designed to end transgender troops’ service in the military, apparently without consulting anyone in a position to know anything about the issue. The ill-considered edict has blindsided transgender military personnel, the Pentagon, Members of Congress…and all the rest of us.
Last year Ash Carter, Defense Secretary in the Obama administration, announced a repeal of the ban on transgender troops serving openly. In addition, he outlined a plan to allow transgender troops to receive treatment that ranges from counseling to hormone treatment to gender reassignment surgery. (USA Today)
Trump sites the expense of providing health care as his reason to deny service to all transgender people. Debunking the claim that healthcare would be too expensive for trans troops, the Rand Institute used private health insurance data to find the costs of transition treatments and concluded that the Military Health System would only see an increase between $2.4 million and $8.4 million per year. By comparison, the government spends $3.6 million every single time the Spender-in-Chief takes a weekend jaunt to Mar-a-Lago in Florida, according to the Government Accountability Office (NBCNews)
Cost has nothing to do with this transgender ban. This is discrimination, pure and simple. He has targeted transgender troops as a category of people to treat differently from everyone else. If cost were the issue, there would be more reasonable places to cut the military budget. I have no doubt that dropping the coverage of Viagra alone would save more money. No, cost has nothing to do with this ban; it’s all about prejudice.
As a country, we should be better than this blatant bias. At the very least, the president of this country should be better. This president, instead, seems disinterested in doing what is right for the citizens of this country; in fact, it seems clear that he has no idea what right action looks like. Rather than taking steps that move us towards a more inclusive society, he seems intent on dividing us. This ban on transgender service is a clear example of that division, just as his insistence on repealing the ACA is.
This morning I received this email from a friend who had just returned from Canada:
When I was in Newfoundland I really thought about moving there. It’s so embarrassing to travel and when you say you’re from the US they just look at you with pity. It’s like a bad dream that you can’t wake up from…
What a shame. And the shame rests firmly on the shoulders of this president.
This morning I wrote an email to the White House. I wrote to my Senators. I called my Republican Senator’s office. We have to maintain our vigilance and continue to speak out through our letters, calls, marches, and donations to progressive organizations. It’s time yet again for us to be heard.