US-NEWS-SCOTUS-MILITARY-TRANSGENDER-GET

While the ban won’t include individuals that are currently serving or planning on medically transitioning to the opposite gender, it still poses extreme prejudice towards those seeking to fully transition.

President Donald Trump’s spree of taking minority groups and making them feel inferior to him has been an ongoing theme throughout his presidency and will continue to take a toll nationwide. On Jan. 22, the Supreme Court overturned the Obama administration’s decision to allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military in a vote of 5-4, with the conservative justices comprising the majority. Working to advance the ban, Trump cited his reasoning as being that transgendered individuals in the process of transitioning cost the Pentagon too much money, regardless of the fact that the medical costs that are supposedly breaking the bank increase the military budget by a mere 0.13 percent.

While the ban won’t include individuals who are currently serving or planning on medically transitioning to the opposite gender, it still poses extreme prejudice toward those seeking to fully transition. Beginning with his attempt to deport everyone who illegally crossed the border,  Muslim ban and obsession with building a wall along the southern border of the U.S. to keep Mexican immigrants out, this most recent urge to exclude transgender individuals from the military doesn’t come as a surprise.

To think that an entire group of people will soon be restricted from making the decision to risk their lives for their country simply because they’re honest about who they are and who they want to be is both heartbreaking and appalling. It’s no secret that our president harbors a vendetta against minorities, but escalating to the point where he’s being particular about the people allowed to protect our country is approaching a new level.

To list the reason behind the ban as being that transgender individuals cost the government too much money when serving in the military is absolutely absurd and nothing more than an excuse to strengthen his own agenda and impose his beliefs on Americans. Taking into account the multitude of transgender troops who have transitioned in the past few years, the number of military-associated transgender individuals potentially being discharged will quickly climb into the thousands. This takes away their paycheck and in some cases, their ability to provide for their families. It also disregards their skill and dedication they contribute to the country’s means of defense.

This trend of moving the country back 50 years worth of progress with every executive decision is getting beyond exhausting. This ban violates transgender people’s fifth amendment rights, and it would be illegal to pass it through legislation due to the way it discriminates against them for irrelevant reasons. It’s ironic that the country they’re willing to risk their lives to defend is the same country taking away their right to serve, simply because they’re unwilling to hide who they are.

If Trump had a real respect for the citizens of this country, he’d understand that for individuals who identify as transgender, it’s important for their emotional well-being to go through the complete transition, surgery included. To say that they can’t fight for their country because it would cost America too much money is saying that they’re not equal to every other citizen who can freely join the military. People shouldn’t be treated differently simply because of the color of their skin, which gender they identify with or anything else. It’s not a confusing concept to understand, Mr. President.

Eliza MacKnight is a sophomore psychology major. Contact Eliza at mackieg@dukes.jmu.edu.