Citing "tremendous medical costs" and undefined disruption, today President Trump arbitrarily announced via Twitter a ban of transgender individuals from participating in the military "in any capacity."
Subverting communications protocol assumed of an American President, Trump offered no follow-up statement via Twitter or anywhere. In fact, it appears no other extension of the administration was prepared for the announcement.
OutServe-SLDN commented on the abrupt change in policy. "The disruptive burden to the military comes from indecision in a White House which itself is not focused on victory if it’s targeting service members." OutServe-SLDN, a non-profit, works to bring about full equality to the U.S. military. The organization added in a release that more than 16,000 trans individuals current serve in the armed forces.
Closer to home, Marisa Richmond called the decision "discriminatory" in a Facebook post, adding that the DOD had thoroughly reviewed the issue.
On Fox17, Richmond added, ""I never served myself, but it's insulting to say that a person cannot and should not be allowed to serve just because they belong to a specific group. That's just blatant discrimination."
In The Tennessean, TEP's Chris Sanders cited a Williams Institute study that found 1 in 5 trans people have served in the military and added, "These are patriotic people who love our country, and when you say they can't serve you're making them an enemy of the state."
And on HuffPost, trans veteran and Tennessean Carla Lewis posted this op-ed.
The Washington Post quoted Milo Yiannopoulos in this story that attempts to detail how Trump's LGBT supporters are defending him today.
The question has been raised as to whether Trump's declaration today is "steamrolling" over the work of the Department of Defense or whether there is a political intention behind it, the assumption being that it will force the hand of Democrats in Rust Belt states in next year's mid-term elections. A further assumption being that it would be difficult to impossible to justify transgender rights in that region.
Adding validity to this argument is this article from GQ that suggests the budget changes required to implement full LGBT equality across the military, including Trump's stated "tremendous" medical costs, would cost about the same as four of Trump's weekend trips to Mar a Lago.
Graphic via Rolling Stone