By Genesis Rose, Senior
On July 26, 2017 President Donald Trump took to Twitter to proclaim that transgender individuals are henceforth barred from having any participation within the United States Military. In a series of tweets President Trump explains the United States’ Military’s unwillingness to use its funding to provide transgender Americans with the financial means to aide their transition. Due to his unwillingness to fund medical transitions, President Trump opted to remove transgender individuals from the Military altogether. However, it was only a Tweet… right?
While it is perfectly reasonable to be skeptical about the legitimacy of these statements as there were no policies in place to legitimize them, it is important to be aware of the immense power the President of the United States holds, especially in regard to the nation’s military. As the commander-in-chief of the United States’ military, the president, under the United State’s constitution, is allowed to implement virtually any policies he would like— as long as they don’t violate anyone’s constitutional rights.
Needless to say, the president’s declaration shook the country. The Department of Defense scrambled to hastily construct a policy that would adhere to the commander-in-chief's haphazardous proposal. The directive itself only prohibits the enlistment of transgender people, while leaving the fate of those already in service shrouded with ambiguity. The policy did however ban the Department of Defense from using its finances to aid transgender individuals in their medical transitions. This is a lot less disbarring that President Trump’s initial series of tweets. Soon after the directive had been devised, president Trump signed off on it, causing an uproar from the LGBT community and their allies.
There are currently two lawsuits against President Trump and others in his administration challenging the ban against the participation of transgender people in the military. Senator John McCain is sponsoring a bill that would ban the prevention of transgender service members who wish to continue serving from being forced to stop doing so.
Military leaders are speaking on their disagreeance with the bill, upholding the belief that those qualified to serve should serve. Just last week, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis issued a memo that permits transgender service member to continue serving and receiving the medical care they had been previously provided.
Several military leaders, like Trump’s Secretary of the Navy, have spoken about the fundamental irrationality of restricting transgender individuals who can serve and wish to serve from serving.
As of now, Jim Mattis has implemented a panel that will study the new amended directive until February of 2018 before settling on a final decision of whether or not they will remove current transgender service members.