The Pentagon has said it won’t stop transgender people from enlisting in the military despite President Donald Trump’s earlier aversion to the idea.
Back in July, Trump announced he had banned anyone from the transgender community from signing up for the army, citing ‘tremendous medical costs and disruption.’
He wrote on twitter:
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 US 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.
BREAKING: Pentagon says it will allow transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite Trump's opposition.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 11, 2017
The decision generated a huge deal of controversy at the time.
One critic, Sheri Swokowski, who served 34 years in the army and is transgender, wrote:
When trans service members can serve openly and receive necessary medical treatment, they are allowed to focus entirely on their jobs. As a result, their individual readiness increases, as does that of their unit. When you live inauthentically, hiding your identity from your colleagues, your friends, your family, it brings inevitable distractions. I’m proud of my service, and I would never have made the rank of colonel in an extremely competitive military hierarchy if I weren’t an excellent leader. But I still sometimes wonder how much better an NCO and an officer I could have been if I had been able to transition and serve authentically during my time in the army.
People are afraid of what they don’t know or what they don’t understand. It’s much more difficult to hate and discriminate against someone when you know their story. Maybe the president will listen to some of the stories of the brave men and women, like me, who serve our country proudly. In the military, the most important thing is to get the job done. Getting the job done is based on a person’s character and ability. An individual’s gender identity has no influence on those things. It’s a shame Trump doesn’t realise that.
There are currently 250 transgender troops serving in the US military.
Let progress reign.