Trump tweets ban on transgender people serving the military

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U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. Reuters/Kay Nietfeld,Pool

US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that transgender people will no longer be accepted or allowed in the American forces, but his announcement came without a plan in place to implement it. He said the United States military could not afford to accommodate them as it focuses on “decisive and overwhelming victory.”

In a series of Twitter posts, Trump declared the decision after talks with generals and military experts, whom he did not name. Trump argued the military could not be burdened with the medical costs and disruption that transgender people would entail.

As for active transgender military members, the White House did not have an answer on what will happen to them. But press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House and the Defense Department will team up as “implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.”

She pointed out that transgender service "erodes military readiness and unit cohesion.” Sanders also clarified that the decision was made based on what was best for the military and is "not meant to be anything more than.” ABC Washington Bureau chief Zoe Daniel said Trump’s national security team was also consulted.

Slap in the face

Trump’s recent Twitter posts mark a setback for LGBT rights groups who have expressed concerns that the new administration could chip away at progress seen in recent years in relation to a repeal of the ban on transgender people openly serving the military, as well as the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide. LGBT leaders and civil rights groups have been quick to condemn the decision.

The American Civil Liberties Union described the announcement "outrageous and desperate.” Senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project Joshua Block argued that Trump was trying to score cheap political points on the backs of military personnel.

For Rep Dan Kildee, D-Michigan, the decision was a “slap in the face” for transgender Americans already serving the military. "Anyone who is willing to put on the uniform of the United States and risk their life in service to our country should be celebrated as patriots, regardless of their gender identity,” CNN quotes him as saying.

Last year, Defense secretary under former US President Barack Obama Ash Carter ended the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military. But according to a 2016 Rand Corp. study, transgender people in the military would have a "minimal impact" on readiness and health care costs.

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