After three months of legal battles, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision earlier this month enacted the ban on transgender persons from serving in the military.
In August 2017, President Trump signed the Presidential Memorandum on Military Service by Transgender Individuals to ban transgender people from serving openly in the United States military. This memorandum overturned the existing rules that former President Obama had put in place allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military.
Trump first introduced the ban via his Twitter account on July 26, 2017.
“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,” Trump wrote.
The ban was put on hold by lower courts at first, but the ban became official on Jan. 22 following the Supreme Court ruling. According to the Humans Rights Campaign the Supreme Court declines to hear any cases challenging the Trump-Pence administration.
“The administration can now begin kicking transgender troops out of the military and denying trans people the opportunity to enlist in the first place … even as lawsuits like ours continue to play out,” stated the website.
Jonathan Michell, a junior criminal justice major at Florida A&M who plans on joining the military and is currently in ROTC, was in a state of disbelief when he heard the news on the ban.
“My reaction to this ban was shocking because these soldiers have been serving our country for years and now, they’re just put out because of their gender. And that’s not right,” said Michell.
With the ban most transgender persons are prevented from serving except service members who have been stable for three years in their biological sex prior to joining the military.
Service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria after joining the military can stay if they don't require a change of gender and remain deployable. Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which the person identifies, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Service members who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria before the effective date of the policy can still serve and receive medical treatment.
Transgender persons without a gender dysphoria diagnosis or history can serve in their birth sex.
Michell believes that this decision will put the military in a negative light.
“This ban will affect the military by not being on the right side of justice this time. When you look at military history, the military is always the first to accept all people no matter where they come from. I feel as if this ban will affect the military in a negative way,” said Michell.
The reasons behind President Trump’s ban are that the cost to provide transgender persons with the medical treatment that they may need is too high. But according to a 2016 study by the RAND organization, the cost of medical procedures would only account for 0.1 percent of the Department of Defense’s budget.
Another reason behind the ban was that the military could not be burdened with the time that soldiers would have to take off to get medical attention. Again, this was proven false by the RAND study. The RAND study estimated that there are between 1,320 and 5,530 transgender service members on active duty with an addition 1,500 on reserve. It was found that only 25 to 130 personnel would pursue surgical treatment. While between 30 and 140 service members would seek hormone therapy.
Michell believes that the only reason this ban was put in place was because people are simply not ready for change.
"I believe that the ban was put into place was because people were not ready for transgender people to be in the military. I believe it’s a form of hate to put them out of the military,” Mitchell said.