After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
Trump’s Aug. 25 directive reversed a 2016 initiative by former President Barack Obama lifting a ban on transgender troops serving openly. Currently, the directive forbids new transgender recruits; by March. 23, 2018, the military will not cover sex reassignment surgery and, depending on the results of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ panel study, currently enlisted transgender troops such as Hayden may not be able to serve at all. There are currently more than 15,000 transgender military members, according to the Human Rights Campaign, making the Department of Defense the largest employer of transgender people in America. Kara Stanford, 32, also attends Mississippi State and is one of 134,000 living transgender veterans in American, according to the HRC. “I served nine years, earned my Combat Infantry Badge and multiple awards,” said Stanford, who was deployed twice to Iraq with the U.S. Army. Her other awards include an Iraq Campaign Medal and an Overseas Service Ribbon. She says the Combat Infantry Badge is her “point of pride” because it’s given only to infantry who react well under enemy fire. “I wasn’t surprised at all,” Stanford said about President Trump’s directive. “It did make me angry. Trump doesn’t listen to people who know what they’re talking about, he only listens to people he agrees with.” “(President Trump) speaks about the burden and the cost of transgender people in the military. What is that based on?” said Malaysia Walker, coordinator of the Transgender Education and Advocacy Program for the ACLU of Mississippi. “He bases that on nothing, because if you look at it, the cost of transgender people to be in the military is almost zero. And no one has heard of any altercations or misfortunes with trans people being in the military.” A 2016 study by the RAND Corporation estimated that offering gender transition-related health care would create between $2.4 million and $8.4 million in costs annually, or a 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase of the military’s current health care expenditures. The ACLU and the Human Rights Commission each filed lawsuits against the directive. “The cost for offering comprehensive inclusive health care to transgender service members is negligible,” said Sarah McBride, the HRC’s national press secretary. “In fact, it costs more for the president to take two trips to Mar-a-Lago than it does for the Pentagon to provide medically necessary health care to transgender troops. So this was just a pretext for discrimination.” Hayden earns roughly $400 a month from his engineering position with the Reserves, and he was planning to use that money to pay for hormone replacement therapy. His other options are using Tricare, a military health care service, or his parents’ insurance. Tricare requires a psychiatrist’s note to permit hormone replacement therapy (no one uses that, Hayden said), and he isn’t sure he should come out to his parents. So he has decided to to hold off on the therapy because, as he puts it, “what if they start kicking people out?” Hayden hopes to join the active duty after college, lead soldiers and deploy overseas. “I love serving my country,” he said. “I love having that family [at the base]. I always say, I don’t see black, white, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, whatever, everyone’s green to me in the Army because our uniforms are green. When I put on my uniform I’m in the Army, and I don’t let stupid comments get in the way of completing my mission. “Just because I go see a doctor more than most people, just because I ask to go to a different restroom, doesn’t mean I can’t serve or protect my country. It wasn’t a problem until they made it a problem.” Hayden added that the president, despite being his boss, may not have the best perspective on the issue. “Trump didn’t serve in the military,” he said. “He got out of the draft twice. So for him to be picky about who serves, he’s got a lot of dirt under his nose for saying that.” Walker, of the ACLU, and who is also trans, mentioned a contradiction between Trump’s policy and his campaign promises.
….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
“I’m fortunate enough to say that transgender people, like myself, know how to fight,” Walker said. “We’ve been fighting our whole lives for freedom. We’ve been fighting our whole lives to be included. We’ve been fighting our whole lives for acceptance. This is just another thing that we have to fight for.” Hayden wants to come out to his fellow soldiers; it would help explain his attire and his short hair. But for now, he’s waiting on the White House’s next move, which may not happen until March. Although he has been cautious about who he comes out to, Hayden says he doesn’t think his veteran grandfather would mind. “I don’t think he’d be disappointed in me, I think he’d be disappointed in the system.” The White House did not respond to a request for a comment.
Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2016