The LGBTQIA Alliance of Vermont issues the following statement in response to the newly stated ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.
Today, in his usual manner of using Twitter to respond to issues of significance, President Trump has stated: “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.”
The LGBTQIA Alliance of Vermont stands firmly opposed to this ban. Per Alliance Liaison Brenda Churchill, “The only thing that is of significance when it comes to allowing military personnel to serve is whether they can handle the job for which they are trained and to which they are assigned. By attacking thousands of transgender troops already serving, President Trump makes it clear that he cares more about extreme ideology than military readiness.”
The Alliance echoes and supports the statements made by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who ended the transgender military ban just last year, and those of Senator Elizbeth Warren: “To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military. There are already transgender individuals who are serving capably and honorably. This action would also send the wrong signal to a younger generation thinking about military service.”
As has been provided by the Human Rights Campaign: According to the Williams Institute, there are an estimated 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military. Thousands of transgender people have served with honor and distinction in our military, including the more than 134,00 transgender veterans who are alive today. Transgender service members have risked their lives around the world, and the previous transgender military ban made them unable to be their authentic selves or seek the medical care they needed. This had negative implications for our nation’s military readiness. A service member who is able to be open and honest about their gender identity and receive appropriate care is more productive and focused on the mission.
A 2016 Rand study commissioned by the Defense Department found that the medical costs of trans service members represented an “exceedingly small portion of active-component health care expenditures.” According to the study, which analyzed health insurance data on gender transition-related expenditures, extending medical care to transgender service members would increase costs by $2.4 million to $8.4 million a year. That comes out to be between 1/10 and 1/20 of a percent.
The LGBTQIA Alliance of Vermont is comprised of representatives from a range of LGBTQIA organizations and individuals from the broader Vermont community. Our mission is to anticipate and collaboratively respond to proposed & enacted laws, policies, actions, and community-level crises that impact on LGBTQIA Vermonters.
The Alliance provides expert advice to elected officials, political activists, state agencies, community based & professional organizations, and other interested parties on representing and protecting the interests and rights of LGBTQIA Vermonters. The group seeks to fairly represent the collective voice of LGBTQIA Vermonters through advocacy, community building, education, and representation.