In a major step backwards for rights and progress, President Donald Trump banned transgender people from the military, he said in a tweet. The announcement, in typical Trump fashion, came on Twitter. On the morning of Wednesday, July 26, Trump tweeted,
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow... ....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming..... ....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you
That 2016 announcement was made by then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. He said in the announcement of the ban's lift,
Our mission is to defend this country, and we don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission.
So with this, Trump's reinstatement of the ban on transgender people serving in the military is a major reversal. By taking away the ban on transgender people serving in the military, it demonstrated a willingness to be more progressive and do away with some aspects of discrimination on the basis of identity.
That 2016 move came in a wave of similar decisions during the Barack Obama administration that provided protection of rights to the LGBTQ+ community. This included lifting a ban on LGBTQ+ people serving in the military, creating protections from discrimination in federal housing assistance, and the legalization of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court.
The LGBTQ+ community has been concerned about the Trump administration's possible effects, and this latest sign is not a good one. Earlier in the year, Trump made moves to undo Obama's guidance that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom of their choosing. Ultimately, Trump took away that federal protection for trans students.
Unfortunately, this mornings tweets and his intention to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military show that Trump is far from making good on his promise to "fight for" LGBT individuals.