Donald Trump has no plans to reverse his trans military ban.
On Monday (3 August), the President of the United States was asked by the Washington Blade if he would reconsider his transphobic three-year-old policy “in any capacity,” to which he responded: “I can’t hear you.”
When asked the question a second time, Trump – who was stood near the engines of Marine One – replied: “I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”
In an email to the publication, Judd Deere – White House Deputy Press Secretary – said the ban will remain in place.
“Current policy regarding transgender military service was developed in consultation with senior military officials, medical experts and combat veterans who determined that the previous policy eroded military readiness and unit cohesion,” Deere said. “The White House has no policy announcements at this time.”
In 2017, Trump announced that he was banning transgender people from serving in the military, citing “tremendous medical costs” and “disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” His announcement was immediately met with widespread backlash.
On 22 January 2019, the Supreme Court granted Trump’s request, meaning transgender people will have a number of challenging requirements in store if they want to serve their country. They can refuse potential recruits who have transitioned and have a history of ‘gender dysphoria’.
Although the decision is temporary, this means that the Trump administration will be able to enforce the ban while the case proceeds.
Earlier this year, several trans people spoke to the Thomas Reuters Foundation about being unable to serve, despite their wishes to do so.
“I almost feel like a caged animal – I’m just kind of standing here on the sidelines watching everything happen in front of me,” explained Nic Talbott. “I am capable, qualified and willing to do more, but there’s this barrier in front of me that makes absolutely no sense.”
John Roberts, a trans man who wants to be part of the National Guard, said: “It’s probably the most frustrating thing I’ve had to deal with in my entire life. I’m ready, I’m here, I’m willing, I’m qualified. I want to get out there. And I want to help.”
Jackie Speier, a member of the Democratic party who serves as a U.S. Representative for California’s 14th congressional district, recently proposed an amendment that will prohibit the use of funds to implement the trans military ban, as well as an amendment to prevent the Defence Department from banning the display of Pride flags.
“The military has granted only one waiver to a transgender service member, exposing the President’s discriminatory policy for what it is — a virtual ban on military service by brave transgender Americans,” Speier told Roll Call prior to the vote.
Jennifer Dane, the interim executive director of Modern Military Association of America, said: “As our nation faces seemingly unprecedented challenges, it’s crucially important that the military return to an inclusive policy that allows any qualified patriot to serve.
“With this vote, the U.S. House of Representatives just sent a powerful message that bigotry and discrimination should have no place in our Armed Forces. We urge the full Congress to ensure this critically important amendment is passed.”