By Laura Vettleson-Trutza
On June 30, 2016, under the Obama administration, transgenders were no longer banned and could serve openly in the military. I found this to be a good thing that the military would be more open to those wanting to fight for our country. However, on July 26, 2017, a little over a year later, President Trump announced via twitter that the military would no longer allow transgenders in the military due to “Tremendous medical costs and disruption,” the transgenders bring to the military. Seeing this announcement made my heart sink for the transgenders wanting to join the military and for the (approximate) 15,000 currently serving. Many others and I do not agree with President Trump’s decision, but there are others who do agree and think it was the right choice.
Those who support the ban believe transgenders should not be allowed in the military for many reasons. Some think of them to be a waste of money and cause disruption in the military due to their needs. Often they don’t like the idea of paying for a man to transition into a woman or vice versa. Not only that, but transgenders require regular need of hormone therapy and regular checkups to the doctor, thus potentially making them undeployable. Some believe being transgender is mental illness, and that alone should not allow them in the military. Support for this belief comes from general idea of that “they feel uncomfortable in their current body,” along with the fact that 41% of transgenders attempt suicide, and they also have a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder and depression. With a combination of these facts, many believe a transgender is mentally ill and adding the stress of military on top of it all will only cause problems. Many argue that the military is not a “safe space” and that those who go into the military should focus on the task at hand and not whether they feel they’re a man or a woman.
On the other side, there are those who believe that transgenders should be in the military. Generally, they don’t believe being transgender is a mental disorder and shouldn’t be classified as one. They believe there is nothing truly preventing them from being able to serve in the military. There haven’t been any major problems known to public, until recently when the transgender ban was placed.
The supposed reason for the ban was because of the cost of surgery and hormones. In fact, the approximate cost for transgenders in the military is about 2.4 to 8.4 million dollars. Looking at those numbers alone appears to be a lot. However, when you compare it to the other expenses such as Viagra, being about 41.6 million dollars, it begins to look a little smaller. Then, when comparing it to the total military budget of 601 billion dollars, it makes both of those numbers look like specks of dust. Cost isn’t really an issue and arguably, the ban is just discrimination and is more evidence on how President Trump lied about protecting LGBTQ+ rights.
I personally believe we should allow transgenders to be in the military. I don’t believe there is anything truly hindering them from being able to join. If a transgender, who is mentally and physically well, wants to join fight for our country, then why shouldn’t they? If they are willing to sacrifice their lives for the people in this country including those who complain about them being in the military, then they have more fortitude than a lot of people.
In a way, I don’t think many people truly understand transgenders. I can’t say I do because everyone’s different. I think because of the lack of understanding, people like to give them stereotypes and label them as “man dressing as woman,” confused, depressed, unstable, weird, etc. I personally think the reason for a high depression and suicide rate is not just feeling as though they are in the wrong body, but more so lack of acceptance from others.
In the end, I don’t think it should matter if someone is a transgender or not. If they are fighting for our country, then they should be honored, not discriminated.
Anderson, R.T. (2017). 5 Good Reasons Why Transgender Accommodations Aren’t Compatible With Military Realities. The Daily Signal. Retrieved at dailysignal.com/2017/07/26/5-good-reasons-transgender-accommodations-arent-compatible-military-realities
Bender, S.& Gould, J. (2015). Here’s how the US military spends its billions. Retrieved at www.businessinsider.com/how-the-us-military-spends-its-billions-2015-8
Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.). Transgender Military Service. Retrieved at www.hrc.org/resources/transgender-military-service
Ingraham, C . (2017). The military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops’ medical care. The Washington Post. Retrieved at www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/26/the-military-spends-five-times-as-much-on-viagra-as-it-would-on-transgender-troops-medical-care/?utm_term=.3f50c2ad1919
Maucione, S. (2017). What is the real cost of Trump’s transgender military ban? Retrieved at federalnewsradio.com/defense-news/2017/08/what-is-the-real-cost-of-trumps-transgender-military-ban/
Laura Vettleson-Trutza is a student at Mabel-Canton High School. She is one of seven area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 19th year.