President Trump took to Twitter once again in the morning hours of Wednesday, July 26th to announce that after “consultation with his Generals and military experts,” transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the US military.
Seeming to cite the reason being “tremendous medical costs” of transition, along with concern for “disruptions”, Trump has come out with this announcement after last month, when Defense Secretary James Mattis announced the delay of fully enacting the move by Defense Secretary under Obama, Ash Carter, to strike the ban against transgender people in the military.
However, as of this morning, July 28th, there has been no official modification to the military’s policy. According to a letter from highest-ranking military officer, Gen. Joseph Dunford, no official modifications will be made until Trump sends specific directions to the Pentagon. His tweet will not suffice as official policy changes.
Reactions to his tweet (as well as questions of whether or not his tweet was announcing a real policy change) came out immediately, including from transgender people currently serving. In the first day since Trump’s initial tweets, some officials have voiced their opinions, including Republican senators.
Trump, a known draft-dodger, feels transition is too costly to be provided by the military (A Rand Corp report last year estimated transgender care would cost about $8 million annually). However, there are things that the military spends much more on, like Viagra pills. According to Military Times, in 2014 the Military spent around $84 million that year on Viagra and erectile dysfunction.
For the time being, we have no idea if this ban will become a legitimate law, or if Trump has other reasons for causing such a public stir. There are currently only theories.