So yesterday (26th July 2017) Donald Trump, President of the United States, tweeted the following, in 3 separate tweets:
“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."
The U.S. Government will no longer allow transgender individuals to serve their country in the military, a calling that many Americans hold in high esteem. The U.S. Government and military will no longer extend this honour to certain people based solely on how they identify themselves. Just 12 months before today, the Pentagon had the ban lifted on transgender individuals serving in the American Military, a milestone which every forward-thinking, progressive society should follow in all aspects of everybody’s lives.
Just 12 months before, Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said of lifting the ban; it’s “the right thing to do for our people and for the force. We're talking about talented Americans who are serving with distinction or who want the opportunity to serve. We can't allow barriers unrelated to a person's qualifications prevent us from recruiting and retaining those who can best accomplish the mission."
You might think it is inappropriate for a foreign entity to comment on such an issue occurring in America. That didn’t stop Barrack Obama interfering on Scotland’s Independence Referendum at the behest of David Cameron.
At the moment, according to a RAND study, there is currently about 2,500 out of 1.3 million military service members who are transgender, as well as about 1,500 out of approximately 825,000 reserve troops.
The U.S. Government is perfectly willing to prevent the military from benefiting from the talents, skills and knowledge of these perfectly able-bodied individuals; whose performance has nothing to do with their identity.
I therefore condemn the U.S. President’s move to prevent transgender individuals serving their country, not only because it returns us to the world where these people are treated like second-class citizens but also because it sends completely the wrong message. It is like we have taken 1 step forward in the pursuit of equality but then Donald Trump has forced society 2 steps backwards. I am sure everyone in the YSI stands with transgender individuals across the world, including in America where I am sure these individuals will be starting to feel persecuted once again.
-Daniel McBride, YSI Treasurer.