This morning, President Trump tweeted that his administration will ban transgender people from serving in the military. The news caught many off guard, including the Pentagon. It is estimated that there are about 6,000 current transgender troops serving in the US military, about the same amount of people on board a fully staffed aircraft carrier.
In his tweets, Trump claimed the reason transgender individuals are not being allowed was because of the "tremendous costs and disruption" their service causes. A recent study by the Rand Corporation determined that the additional costs to the military for transgender troops ranges between $2.4 -$8.4 million annually. As a comparison, the military spends $84 million, or at least 10 times more on erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra. It is also equal to 1/20th - 1/80th of the cost of one F-35 fighter, and less than 0.0001% of the entire military budget. Tremendous costs?
The claim of disruption is also questioned, as nobody in the military has provided any studies or examples to support such claims. The Rand study found that "previous integration efforts and the experiences of foreign military's indicate a minimal likely Impact on force readiness." Eighteen other countries allow transgenders to serve in their military, including the UK, Germany, Israel, Australia, Canada, and France.
Trump didn't always express the same views. During the campaign, he claimed he would fight for the LGBT community.
Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2016
Soon after Trump's tweets, Senators and Congressmen from both parties spoke out against the new policy. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated "There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military -- regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so -- and should be treated as the patriots they are."