Those who protect should be protected
Time has passed since President Trump first tweeted about banning transgender Americans from serving in the military. At the time, it was a distraction from his failed attempt to replace “Obamacare.” Ann Coulter, well-known conservative political commentator, had a different take on the tweets.
“It was a good distraction for something I wasn’t very happy with the president over…his tweets about the attorney general” said Coulter.
Since then, Trump has moved forward on the claim. According to Fox News, Trump has issued guidance toward Secretary of Defense James Mattis in implementing the ban within a six-month period. The American Civil Liberties Union has recently sued Trump over the ban and liberal news outlets have expressed disappointment over the matter.
Michael Barbaro, host of The New York Times podcast The Daily, talked with Sgt. Ashlee Bruce. Stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado, Bruce talked about personal experiences of being transgender in The Air Force.
“I was always worried that my roommate, or somebody like that, would catch me presenting female. Because I still went out as a girl; I still had to have that stress relief for me.” said Bruce. He went on to state that the military is helping him through his transition into becoming a woman, and that the military is paying for the procedures.
“Everybody has been really supportive” said Bruce. “My supervisor went up and talked to our first Sargent to get some clarification for me, and he’s been proactive in getting information I need, and sharing information with me that he knows.”
Although this ban seems outrageous to most, why would someone who isn’t receiving those procedures want to pay for the medical costs Ashlee Bruce is creating? The way the mainstream media presented this issue brought light to the medical costs being created by transgender service members. This fueled backlash from the far-right. The “fake news” slogan was repeated, and only pumped up the Trump base with more uneducated rhetoric. With this context, we can see why some Americans are against transgender soldiers.
According to The Fiscal Times, Transgender soldiers cost the military $2.4 million to $8.4 million each year. That sounds like a lot of money, but when put into perspective, it makes up only 0.04 percent to 0.13 percent of the total military health care budged. This further proves that Trump doesn’t care about policy, nor does his followers. He only wants to keep feeding this to his base to keep them excited for the 2020 presidential election, and the base wants to stay excited.
This is a serious issue that effects Americans he swore to protect, yet he throws it around on a social media site made for posting uninformed comments without relevant consequence. We should be proud of anyone who serves to protect us. Transgenders who volunteer to protect our country should be protected in return, and given coverage for their service. It is important to remember that they protect even those who don’t want to see them succeed.
Senator John McCain came out against the ban, saying: “it would be a step in the wrong direction.” The Pentagon has recently stated it will study this issue with the Committee on Armed Services before acting.
With pressure from Mattis and Trump, it can only be a matter of time before the ban is reinstated.