In 2017, many were left outraged when President Donald Trump tweeted about a ban on transgender military members. The series of tweets read:
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to 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.”
Due to blockings by four different courts and several lawsuits, the original ban was terminated.
On Jan. 22 however, the Supreme Court took a huge step in reviving the ban. In a 5- 4 split vote, the court lifted two of the blocks set by lower courts, though one block still currently remains.
The new ban will bar those diagnosed with gender dysphoria, those whose medical policies state they may need medications, surgery, or other substantial medical treatment, and those who have already transitioned.
If one identifies as transgender but has made no steps to transition they will allowed to enlist under the gender they were assigned at birth. Additionally, those already enlisted will be able to continue serving.
Although said to be due to “tremendous medical costs” many question if political and personal motivation played a role in the decision.
A study by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) stated that employer costs for providing transgender appropriate health care would raise gross premium costs by no more than four-tenths of a percent. As military healthcare is generally more cost effective, the raise was expected to be even less. With cost expectancy being so low, it is not hard to see why people question the real motives.
Actions such as this can make members of the transgender community feel like a burden. Even when willing to risk their lives to help protect this country and those in it, they are told they cannot. Additionally, this can be worrisome to those already enlisted who fear backlash from their fellow servicemen and women both physically, and from withholding promotions.
Messages such as these can be especially harmful to younger transgender individuals and those struggling with their personal gender identity. Seeing public malice and rejection from their own government can make what is often a difficult and stressful situation even harder.
With the 5-4 Supreme Court decision being split between conservative and liberal members, and with similar divides among the public, the assumption that the ban has more to do with personal beliefs than financial and medical wellbeing appears to be justified.