56 retired military officials have spoken out against President Trump’s planned ban on transgender troops.
Trump enraged LGBT activists last week by announcing a ban on transgender people serving in the US military.
In a string of Twitter posts, the President claimed that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender would entail”.
The decision, which was allegedly made to appease anti-LGBT Republican lawmakers, has distressed the thousands of transgender people who are already serving in the armed forces.
Trump had claimed the decision was supported by “my generals” despite not consulting the Pentagon.
In a challenge to the leader, 56 retired Generals and Admirals spoke out on the issue a joint letter today.
The letter says: “The Commander in Chief has tweeted a total ban of honorably serving transgender troops.
“This proposed ban, if implemented, would cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy.
“As a result, the proposed ban would degrade readiness even more than the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Patriotic transgender Americans who are serving—and who want to serve—must not be dismissed, deprived of medically necessary health care, or forced to compromise their integrity or hide their identity.”
It continues: “President Trump seeks to ban transgender service members because of the financial cost and disruption associated with transgender militaryservice.
“We respectfully disagree, and consider these claims to be without merit. The RAND Corporation, as well as research in the New England Journalof Medicine, found that the financial cost of providing health care to transgender troops would be, at most, $8.4 million per year.
“This amounts to one one-hundredth of one percent of the military’s annual health care budget. As for ostensible disruptions, transgender troops have been serving honorably and openly for the past year, and have been widely praised by commanders.
“Eighteen foreign nations, including the UK and Israel, allow transgender troops to serve, and none has reported any detriment to readiness.”
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
It adds: “Thousands of transgender Americans are currently serving in uniform and there is no reason to single out these brave men and women and deny them the medical care that they require. The military conducted a thorough research process on this issue and concluded that inclusive policy for transgender troops promotes readiness.”
Stephen Peters, HRC National Press Secretary and Marine veteran, said: “These retired generals and admirals have made it clear exactly how harmful President Trump’s transgender military ban would be to our nation’s armed forces.
“President Trump’s and Vice President Pence’s attack on bravely serving transgender troops is dangerous and unpatriotic.
“They absolutely must listen to these voices of reason and reverse course in support of ALL of our nation’s heroes, regardless of their gender identity.”