President Trump has responded to criticism over banning transgender people from working in the military by suggesting that he got a “lot of votes” from LGBT people.
Trump has responded to criticism levelled at him after he vowed that transgender personnel would be forbidden from working in the US military last month.
Taking to Twitter the President said,
“I have great respect for the community… I think I’ve had great support, or I’ve had great support from that community. I got a lot of votes.
“But the transgender, the military’s working on it now… It’s been a very difficult situation and I think I’m doing a lot of people a favour by coming out and just saying it.”
“As you know, it’s been a very complicated issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favour.”
Last month, after consulting with his generals and “military experts”, Trump announced that transgender people will be banned from service. This is in stark contrast to the Obama administration which allowed transgender people to serve their country openly last year.
The announcement was also in contrast to Trump’s pledge to protect LGBT people during his election campaign. Taking to Twitter in June 2016 he said that he would “fight” for the community.
The cost of transgender staff?
Initially, the cost of looking after trans personnel was cited as a reason for the decision. In his original statement, he said,
In a series of tweets, Mr Trump wrote,
“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.”
Thousands of trans people are already serving – many of them openly – in the US armed forces and the Department of Defense has found no evidence that they undermine unit cohesion. Additionally, a 2016 study commissioned by the Department of Defense to study this very issue found that an “exceedingly small portion of active-component health care expenditures” was spent on trans people, with trans healthcare representing only a .0005 to .017 per cent total increase on defence spending.