Donald Trump caused chaos on July 26, when he declared that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the US military. The world was left speechless by his decision, which he justified by claiming that transgender people cause “tremendous medical costs and disruption”.
This decision was met with fierce contempt by citizens of the US, political figures and army veterans, such as Sen. John McCain who announced that “any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving … regardless of their gender identity.” Trump announced his decision to ban transgender troops in a tweet (of course) which read: “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.” Of the 1.2 million active personnel in the US military, there are an estimated 250 transgender troops, all of whom have been permitted to receive medical care and allowed to change their gender in the Pentagon’s personnel system. In a report compiled by the non-partisan RAND Corp, it was found that treating transgender troops could cost as much as $8 million annually. The world was outraged by the US governments decision and mass protests erupted as citizens of the country stood in solidarity with the transgender US troops, who were left feeling unwanted and rejected by their own country – a country they were prepared to put their life on the line for. However, this protest was not simply confined to everyday citizens of the US, it was also a feeling shared with important figures within the military. Just four days after Trump’s announcement, a letter opposing the decision was sent to the White House, signed by 56 retired generals and admirals. The letter explained that banning transgender troops would: “cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy” Then on August 9, five transgender US military personnel sued Trump and top Pentagon officials over the proposed ban. In the suit, the troops requested the court to prevent the ban from being implemented. Today, they were able to take one step closer to their wish after a Judge at the US District Court announced that Trump’s request to have transgender troops ejected from the military and all new recruits banned from registering, cannot be enforced whilst the case is being discussed in court. “U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote Monday that transgender members of the military who had sued over the change were likely to win their lawsuit and barred the Trump administration from reversing course,” the Associated Press reports. This is not the first time that an order given by Trump has found itself in difficulty. Earlier this year his “Muslim Ban” was also picked apart by the courts.