Trump’s ban on trans soldiers in the military continues to face heavy opposition.
The President of the United States took to Twitter in July to announce that anyone who identifies as trans will no longer be allowed to serve their country, citing “tremendous medical costs” and “disruption” by trans individuals.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military,” he wrote.
But despite claiming that he had consulted with Generals and military experts, the Pentagon’s top military officer has this week revealed that he advised Trump to let trans service members continue serving.
Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday when he was asked about trans troops.
“I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards, and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving, should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve,” he said.
Asked to reassure trans individuals currently serving, he continued: “I can promise that that will be my advice. What I just articulated is the advice I provided in private, and I’ve just provided in public.”
Trump’s decision to ban trans troops from the military has faced a myriad of opposition since it was announced, including from a range of celebrities like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and Laverne Cox who slammed the “cruel” move.
“To all the trans folks currently serving in the military thank you for your service,” wrote Laverne. “I am sorry your ‘commander in chief’ doesn’t value it.”
United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis last month confirmed that trans troops will not be removed in the immediate future, until research into the implications takes place, effectively stalling Trump’s ban.
Despite claims from Trump of “tremendous costs” caused by trans troops, it’s been estimated that it will cost $960 million to remove and replace all currently serving trans individuals – that’s far more than it would cost to keep them.