The US Supreme Court has let Donald Trump impose his ban on certain transgender people serving in the military.
Back in 2017, Trump announced that America would no longer “accept or allow” transgender Americans to serve in the US military. He claimed the reason was “tremendous medical costs and disruption” due to the individuals transitioning genders, and receiving related treatment. This however was a lie - the amount of money estimated to have been spent in this manner is around $2.2mil (£1.7mil). An absolute drop in the bucket compared to the overall military budget, and indeed less than the amount spent on treatments for other issues, like viagra, for soldiers.
Indeed, the policy was always just red meat for his ultra-conservative base and the talking heads in right-wing media. It has nothing to do with ‘readiness’ or the effectiveness of the military, but everything to do with Trump wanting to please his followers. Those who get excited when he allows them to discriminate against those who are different or icky to them. Including those 8,980 trans people who willingly lay down their lives to protect those conservatives and all others, in America.
Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a public non-profit public policy think tank that publishes work on sex, gender and the military: "We had an inclusive policy for almost three years. What today's ruling enables is the whipsawing of policy, back and forth."
Originally, the ban had been blocked by judges in lower courts as being illegal. But in response, the Trump administration modified their policy slightly, to allow several hundred people already serving openly or those willing to serve “in their biological sex” to remain at their posts.
Under their new proposal, the Trump team argued their policy held water, and the Supreme Court agreed. By the narrowest of majorities, of course. In a 5-4 ruling, the vote was split along party lines, showing just how crucial it was for the Republicans to get in two loyal judges during Trump’s time in office. Having had multiple injunctions put on the case by lower courts since Trump made his initial announcement in 2017 on Twitter, having a loyal set of conservative SC justices has already proved key for them in paving the way for their controversial policy aims.
The ruling does not mandate that Transgender soldiers be banned, it is not a formal court opinion, just a procedural one. It simply, but significantly, allows the Trump administration to enforce the ban if they wish, whilst the full legal fight - which could last years - rages on.
Pentagon spokeswoman Lt Col Carla Gleason tried to ensure that the military was not now politically biased against transgender people, saying that the military treats "all transgender persons with respect and dignity" and that it simply needed to carry out a procedure to boost its effectiveness. Further, she said: "proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that [the defence department] be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world."
Department of Justice spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the administration was "pleased" that the top court was "clearing the way for the policy to go into effect".
"Our military had been forced to maintain a prior policy that poses a risk to military effectiveness and lethality for over a year."
Reaction online has been rightly fierce: Charlotte Clymer, a transgender Army veteran, tweeted:
“As a military veteran and transgender American, I am heartbroken. This is a hateful and cowardly policy based on the terrible reasoning of a White House that has spent the past two years constantly seeking to harm transgender people. There is no excuse for this.” she went on.
with many others being equally angry.
All this from a guy who was too cowardly to be in the military, yet wasn’t a conscientious objector, and so got his Daddy to pay off a doctor to lie and write a phony medical note saying he couldn’t go to Vietnam, cause he had bone spurs. And all this to feed the hatred in society that still lingers in many, for political points.