Update: On Thursday, General Joseph Dunford spoke about the ban, saying "there will be no modifications" for the time being. Top military officials claim they were not made aware of Trump's ban prior to the announcement, and they have not received direct instructions from the president. Dunford also said that, until they receive further instructions, the military will "continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."
Original Story: On Wednesday, President Donald Trump took the next big step in his journey toward transforming into a heartless monster who doesn't care for the well-being of others. In a set of three shocking tweets, he wrote: "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 costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you." The overwhelming response, as any reasonable person might expect, was fervent opposition to the baseless and un-American decision. The ACLU immediately denounced Trump's words, while tonnes of celebrities — and Republicans like John McCain — offered shocked reactions of their own. But Trump's proposed ban isn't just a blatant attack on the transgender community. There's a whole list of reasons the decision is so, so disgusting.
1. The Money Spent on Transgender Services Is Impossibly Small Compared to the Total Military Budget
According to the Los Angeles Times, the military has upped its annual spending on transgender services to roughly $8.4 million. But the military spends a whopping $50 billion in total annually. That means the money going toward transgender individuals is nearly inconsequential, roughly 0.01 percent of total spending.
2. Oh, and the Money Spent on Transgender Services Pales in Comparison to Overall Spending on Men
Going one step further, the LA Times reports that, in 2015, the military spent over $40 million on Viagra. That's five times more than its spending on transgender troops. So, to Trump, ensuring the erectile health of male soldiers is not the same as the "burdensome" and "tremendous" sum of money that goes toward honouring the identity and protecting the bodily health of those who identify as transgender.
3. It Reveals Another Shocking, Bald-Faced Lie in Trump's Presidential Campaign
Granted, we should no longer be surprised when we learn that Trump has lied to our faces. Still, I can't help but feel appalled every time he so violently flips on an issue. In June 2016, Trump tweeted a message: "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs." But Trump hasn't helped the LGBTQ+ community at all. In fact, he ignored LGBTQ+ Pride Month and even removed any mention of the community from the official White House website. In removing transgender troops from the military, he's taking another step toward completely erasing the community rather than honouring it.
4. We Will Lose a Substantial Number of Active Military Members Who Are Transgender
There were an estimated 15,000 transgender people serving in the United States military back in 2014. In the three years since, logic would state that the number has only grown. And that's not even accounting for transgender individuals who are not open about their identity! This ban is not just creating harmful attitudes toward the transgender community, it's also wiping out a significant chunk of brave people who are voluntarily and proudly serving the US.
5. The "Announcement" Ironically Falls on a Pretty Historic Day
Releasing these unconscionable tweets on any day of the year is an inhumane act in and of itself. On July 26, though, there's a special tragic irony. It's exactly 69 years to the day of a different major military decree. In 1948, President Harry Truman signed an executive order that would desegregate the military. It's been almost 70 years since Truman marked that major step toward a more progressive ideology. In 2017, Trump is making a nearly exact counteractive regression.
6. Trump Has Dodged 5 Military Drafts, and These Are People Who Are Volunteering to Serve
The New York Times reports that Trump deferred a military draft a whopping five times in his past. Four of them were because he was in college and one was because of "bad feet." Here Trump is, the leader of the American people, a man who willfully refused more than once to serve the country he now runs. And here Trump also is, denying the right to people who want to serve their country. Where's the logic (and fairness) in that?
7. At the End of the Day, He's Trying to Divert Attention From His Failing Healthcare Bill
Trump's decision to send out these hateful, vile tweets doesn't seem to be coincidence. He's clearly trying to distract from the Senate's vote on the GOP healthcare bill, which is meant to solve the "disaster" that is Obamacare but would leave millions and millions without health care. This isn't the first time Trump has used inflammatory tweets to steal our attention from other alarming issues. This puts people with hearts and souls in an impossible position. With two issues that are so important and vital, how can we speak out and express rage about both?