President Donald Trump’s ban on allowing transgender individuals in the military is wrong. No, I am not a social justice warrior fueled by feelings over facts, but not all who currently agree with the President’s ban are necessarily bigots. While the bigots are present, there is also a group that supports the ban based on misinformation from a media that is just as biased, and as the mainstream media, they are taught to hate. Here is a factual argument on why Trump is wrong.
I first want to clarify what some terms mean, specifically what transgenderism is. If someone identifies as transgender, that means that someone was born a male or a female sexually, but does not identify with the societal constructs of that sex (the modern definition of gender). The person instead identifies with the gender of the opposite sex. Transgender opponents will say it is a mental disorder, and this is where the first argument for the transgender ban comes in: people with mental illnesses should not be allowed in the military. While this argument is valid, it is not sound.
Transgenderism is not a mental disorder as stated by the American Psychological Association. To view a psychological state as a mental disorder, the state of mind must cause the person distress or disable them in some way. This is not the case since most transgender individuals can lead happy and normal lives. Distress or disability is a cause of transphobia.
In President Trump’s initial announcement of the ban on Twitter, Trump states this decision has been made with the consultation of his generals. The problem is that almost every single one of his top generals confessed to having no prior knowledge of this ban, with only Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, having known about it a day in advance. To make matters worse, Buzzfeed originally reported that when the first of the two tweets were posted, his generals thought he was going to declare war on North Korea. Then when it was finally announced, almost all of his military officials including General Mattis (who was on a week of vacation) were immediately against the ban. This also included former generals, admirals, and military veteran Republicans including Joni Ernst and John McCain. However, there’s still the problem with medical costs.
In the tweet, Trump says his reasoning behind the ban is because the military cannot operate with the overwhelming medical expenses of transgender individuals. The problem with measuring the exact cost is that we do not know the number of transgender individuals serving in the military. The Research and Development Corporation, a think-tank that researches the U.S. Military estimates the amount between 1,320 and 6,630 active duty soldiers with costs being between 2.4 million and 8.4 million for different medical needs, a large range of uncertainty.
The New England Journal of Medicine estimates around 12,000 active duty soldiers with the cost being between 4.2 million and 5.6 million. Even at 8.4 million, this is not even one percent of the 640-billion-dollar military budget, less than a penny out of your annual taxes that go to the military, and equals one-tenth of the amount of money spent on erectile dysfunction medication, $84 million yearly. Plus on the cost of actually discharging the soldiers, there are the wasted tax dollars that went to training the soldiers, and even a general discharge can keep veterans from getting hired in civilian life.
Even the American Medical Association has stated there is no valid medical reason for the ban. This ban has no factual basis, and people who support the ban are the ones putting their feelings about transgender individuals over facts. Anyone who is willing to serve in the U.S. Military should be commended and allowed to serve when there is no reason they should not, and in this case there is no need to keep transgender individuals from serving in the military.