President Donald Trump chose the most offensive way possible to announce his decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military. He did it in three 140-character tweets, as if to suggest that the honorable service of transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines didn’t warrant any greater consideration.
It might be easy for conservatives to laugh away the transgender-military service issue as one of those obscure, touchy-feely items that gets liberals worked up but that most Americans don’t care about. But that doesn’t make Trump’s decision right or fair. These are patriots serving their country and they deserve better than this.
By some estimates, up to 11,000 transgender people currently serve in the armed forces.
Trump suggests that the presence of transgender service members somehow blocks the path to victory, which is a ludicrous and unfounded assertion. In fact, a RAND Corp. study concluded the opposite.
In one respect, Trump is correct: There is a medical cost attached to the hormone injections that help transgender servicemembers maintain their physical attributes. But the cost, estimated by RAND to be about $8.4 million a year, is neither prohibitive nor out of line with other medical costs that the Pentagon gladly absorbs to keep service members in top condition.