On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. Military “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity,” citing the “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender[s] in the military would entail.” The decision reverses the “pro-transgender” policy implemented by President Obama in his final year in office.
“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,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets. “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 announcement signals the end of the Obama administration’s new policy implemented on July 1, 2016, which reversed the longstanding policy of excluding for psychological and medical reasons those who suffer from gender dysphoria, the desire to be of the opposite sex.
After the announcement of the new policy last July, the military stopped dismissing those with gender dysphoria, and on October 1, 2016, began providing the medical treatment, which can include hormone treatment and sex change surgery, for those “transitioning.” Phase 2 of the Obama policy was to begin on July 1, 2017, but the Trump’s Department of Defense announced hours before the deadline that it would delay the policy for six months in order to further study its potential impact.
Critics of the Obama administration’s decision, like the Family Research Council, argued that it was made “without any systematic study of the consequences.” Trump’s announcement Wednesday underscored that military leadership believes that both the “costs” and “distraction” of dealing with the condition will distract from the goals of the military: “decisive and overwhelming victory.”