GLAAD — the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation — called President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the United States military “a direct attack on transgender Americans.”
“President Trump today issued a direct attack on transgender Americans, and his administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our government — even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, in a statement on Wednesday.
“Today further exposed President Trump’s overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation. Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans, and this action couldn’t make that any more clear.”
Vice President Mike Pence has been working with members of Congress to amend the spending bill to prohibit the Pentagon from using government funds to provide gender transition medical treatment.
Medical costs for transgender individuals was a driving force in the ban decision, according to Trump on Twitter Wednesday morning. As CNN pointed out, a 2016 Rand Corp. study found that transgender people serving in the military would have a “minimal impact” on health care costs.
“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. Thank you,” Trump said in a series of three tweets.
Members of the transgender community have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Roughly 4,000 transgender troops are already serving openly in the military, according to CNN. It’s unclear what now happens to transgender troops who are already serving.