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The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Let Transgender People Serve in the Military

Last Monday Federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly blocked key segments of President Donald Trump’s military policy, which bans transgender people from serving in the military.

This policy is prejudiced and it infringes upon their civil rights and liberties.

Before the decision was made, Trump announced over the summer on Twitter that he would roll back the Obama-based policy that allowed transgender men and women to serve in the armed forces, which was only in place for a year.

According to The Washington Post, Trump announced this policy without proper advisement.

Gender identity does not deem a person unfit to serve in the United States Armed Forces. The president is displaying obvious prejudice.

Not only is this a civil rights issue, but also an economic issue, as he stated that the military could not afford the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender people who serve.”

However RAND Corporation, an American non-profit organization which provides research to the United States Armed Forces, found that allowing transgender people to serve would cost very little.

The cost to the Pentagon for transitional procedures would be around $2.9 million to $4.2 million a year.

Another RAND Corporation study found that annual medical costs for transgender service men and women (which includes hormones, transitional surgery procedures and therapies) would be around $8.4 million, at its maximum.

In comparison, the military spent $84 million on erectile dysfunction medications (Viagra and Cialis) in 2014.

This is another example of the president exaggerating to prove his point.

It is insulting to transgender people and the American public as a whole, to entertain discriminatory policies with not even a sliver of evidence.

Top democratic and republican leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Cory Gardner and celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Jackie Evancho — who sang at Trump’s inauguration and has a transgender sister — have said that the ban is a civil rights violation.

This announcement proves that this administration has a clear vision of undermining the efforts of qualified transgender Americans.

Even though judges blocked the policy, it’s time the president stopped using his power to discriminate against transgender people.

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  • R

    R. HamiltonNov 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    It seems to me that even if one sets aside questions of “unit cohesion”, etc, there’s the question of the military having relatively demanding physical requirements. Under normal conditions, these don’t affect the usual duties in all specialties – such as many maintenance and support roles, drone pilots, etc – to the same degree. However, IMO it’s reasonable to question whether anyone with special physical needs, vulnerabilities, or limitations (compared to a healthy and fit natural male) is suitable for esp. ground combat roles, or roles that in time of war might be very proximate to combat, and might at times put the lives of others at risk if the person is not able to perform under physically demanding conditions, perhaps for some days at a stretch without access to necessities other than food and water.

    I would think the same might apply to anyone needing e.g. any long-term treatment or prescription, with some limited exception for those still useful that acquired their condition as a result of service. I recall someone that acquired diabetes while in tech school (as did at least one other person, implying a possible common cause in terms of pathogen or substance exposure, although the cause was never determined). They should not have been allowed to re-enlist; but the Air Force screwed up and let them; so at that point, they were grandfathered and could continue to re-enlist. (this would have been back in the ’80’s) They were in a specialty that would usually be well behind the lines (if sometimes much closer to provide tactical support), so that the limitation (that erroneously wasn’t enforced) wasn’t even that compelling.

    In other words, while what you serve to defend may include the right to be different, your performance is the prime consideration, and diversity in and of itself is only an asset insofar as it enables a larger talent pool; otherwise, the question is whether it serves or impedes the mission…and I don’t believe that ALL diversity of itself always serves the mission. Government service serving as an example of and societal precedent for inclusiveness is perhaps of value in and of itself, but in particular, in the military (and perhaps some few civilian roles), the mission is IMO the first priority.

    Perhaps a reasonable position would allow those falling short of more stringent physical requirements to serve in specific career fields, provided they maintained their qualifications in those fields, were still needed in their field (or in another one for which they met the physical requirements and could cross-train), and renounced any claim to promotability equal to those in combat specialties, to seek future legal remedy removing the restrictions, and refrained from advocacy while serving.

    But that’s not all-or-nothing, it’s somewhere in between, and unlikely to satisfy anyone, either those seeking full access to all of society’s institutions as a matter of principle, or those seeking to retain socially conservative standards.

    Reply
  • A

    ADSMNov 9, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Joe Durr, as a transgender active duty service member I don’t want or care what you have to say about it. I have received nothing but support from my co-workers, supervisors, First Sergeant, Commander, Medical, and other base leadership. The military has changed a LOT since Vietnam. I’ll put in E-7 just after my 10 year mark. There is no way the cost of my hormones is more than what it would take to replace my 9+ years of experience in aircraft maintenance.

    Reply
  • J

    joe duerrNov 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Sorry but if you haven’t served in the military I don’t want or care what you have to say about it. Being a combat decorated Vietnam vet Obama was wrong and Trump is right.

    Reply