By: Leah Alsept
The Trump Administration has successfully banned transgender people from entering the military. This policy went into effect Jan. 22.
The Carter Policy was an overturn of the previous ban on transgender people from the military, backed by a year-long study which concluded being transgender had nothing to do with whether someone could serve in the military, as reported by the Department of Defense (DoD) News. In 2016, a RAND Corporation study revealed that there were estimated 2,450 transgender people serving in active duty and 1,510 in the Reserves. The study also states that health care provided for the transgender troops would be relatively low, estimating that there would only be an increase of $2.4 million to $8.4 million dollars annually, which is still extremely low compared to the $598.5 billion the United States spent in the fiscal year of 2015, reported by the National Priorities Project.
The “Mattis Plan,” as referred to in the docket, will be the course of action that the government takes to bar all transgender people from the military. The plan states “(1) anyone who does not live in their “biological sex”; (2) anyone “who require[s] or ha[s] undergone gender transition”; and (3) anyone with gender dysphoria or a history of gender dysphoria who requires a “change of gender” or who does not live in their “biological sex.”
These are the descriptions that are used to define transgender people. The transgender people who are still able to serve in the military are, according to CNN “Service members who have been stable for three years in their biological sex prior to joining the military — meaning 36 months after completion of surgery and hormone treatments; Service members diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” after joining the military can stay in the military if they don’t require a change of gender and remain deployable; Service members who were diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” before the effective date of the policy can still serve and receive medical treatment; Transgender persons without a gender dysphoria diagnosis or history can serve in their birth sex.”
Why would the government want to bar willing Americans who serve in the military- again, voluntarily? Lt. Col. Carla M. Gleason had answers.
“It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world,” she said on Tuesday, as reported by CNN.
If this was about money, then it would be easier for the government to completely ban all transgender people no matter if they have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, have completed transitioning, or otherwise, to eliminate any health care costs for those personnel.
These brave transgender people, despite few numbers, are serving their country to protect the rights of all citizens of America. The partial ban would mean these people would have to give up their own right – the right to free speech, unable to express who they are to the people they will serve alongside in combat. Laura Durso, Vice President of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, told CNN that this policy prevents the inclusion of trans people in public life. This may be the step that starts a bigger movement to remove all transgender people not only from the military, but regular life- indefinitely.