“To serve or not to serve.”
President Donald Trump announced his decision yesterday that the United States military will not be allowing transgender men and women to serve. This comes as a shock to most, considering not long ago, under President Obama, the LGBT community won a victory with the legalization of gay marriage. Now, a year later, we are seeing reversals of decisions being made. It seems as if everything that Barack Obama did during his reign as president, Trump is working to undo. So as gays now have the right to marry, transgender men and women can’t serve in the military. What was once a victory is now short lived because the community iS right back where they started. A sign that more work is still to be done.
Well, what are some repercussions, if any, from Trump’s decision. For starters, every male must sign up for selective service. It is a requirement for being a citizen in the United States. If you identify as transgender, does that mean you still have to sign? Or, are you exempt? And what are the guidelines for saying you identify as the opposite gender? How do we know to get out of selective service, there won’t be people who use this as an excuse to not enlist? Then there is the flip side of keeping transgenders from serving. And that is if you are willing to fight and protect your country, you should be able to do so. Are we going to keep that same sentiment if a war breaks out?
People at home have all these reasons they agree with the president. Yet when people start dying and drama is all around you, the last thing you think about is the sexual orientation of the person fighting with you. It must be a deflating feeling to know that a country where you are told to pay taxes and follow the laws you can’t protect the freedoms you have. This is yet another decision that could be overturned by our government. Trump’s views were aimed at not incurring costs for rising medical windfalls by the military. And this is when I started to question, “What costs? Are transgender men and women’s surgeries and enhancements being financed by the system? Do they need specialized physicians unlike everyone else? When you transition, do you need special medication because you are no longer who you once were? All of the above questions are not true.
And in the end, that is people’s problem with this decision so far. The transgender servicemen and women is so small, this seems more personal than fiscal decision making. Our military defense budget is between a range of $500 – $700 billion, with medical expenditures being around $50 billion. Any real cost incurred by the transgender community is a few million dollars. It’s so insignificant, that it could be mistaken for personal preference. But like I said earlier, the government may react quick to overturn this decision as well. This will just add to the ongoing tension between Trump and his adversaries in and out of government. Meanwhile he has not lost support from his voters.
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