Opinion: Military transgender ban is discrimination

On Jan. 22, the Supreme Court announced its decision to allow President Trump’s policy banning transgender people from serving in the military to be upheld until more cases concerning the subject have been heard by lower courts.

Under the Obama administration a policy was passed stating that transgender individuals could finally enlist in the military beginning in late June 2016. 

Trump announced his policy, reversing the previous changes, one year later by tweeting, “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. 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.”

Now, the Supreme Court has stated in the case docket that, though the policy is “likely to be found unconstitutional,” it does not warrant immediate review, and will remain in effect until further cases have been made in lower courts and a full case has been created for review.  In my opinion, the ban should be lifted immediately.  

If a decision has not been made, there is no reason to discharge service members.  Furthermore, the ban is unconstitutional, and should never have gone into effect at all.

In response to President Trump’s argument, the RAND Corporation, cited by the Supreme Court in their case briefing, conducted a study which found that medical costs would increase, at most, by 0.04 to 0.13 percent. 

The Supreme Court case briefing also said that, “following the 2010 repeal of a federal statute that barred gay and lesbian people from service, military leaders recognized that the armed forces also had valuable and highly skilled transgender members.”

Nearly a decade following such remarks, these valuable transgender service members are being forced by an unconstitutional policy with no factual support, to end their service to the United States. 

While the ban is in effect, transgender service members will be discharged; not because they are unqualified, but because they do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, resulting in the entirely unnecessary loss of skilled and experienced soldiers.  

This ban will not create a stronger or more powerful military. It is not based on fact, but represents hatred and is an act of discrimination. 

President Trump’s claims that transgender service members will cause higher medical costs and disruption within the military has been proven false, yet the ban is still in effect.  

It seeks to invalidate the lives of transgender individuals and disparages the courage and commitment of transgender service members, who were willing to dedicate their lives to a country which now makes the claim that their service is a burden. 

Allow these soldiers to serve, and be thankful for their service.

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