Donald Trump recently made an announcement in a series of tweets saying he would ban transgender soldiers from serving in the U.S. Military.
Today, fifty-six retired General and Flag Officers provided the following statement:
“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.
Trump seeks to ban transgender service members because of the financial cost and disruption associated with transgender military service. We respectfully disagree, and consider these claims to be without merit. The RAND Corporation, as well as research in the New England Journal of 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.
Recently, two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have taken courageous stands in support of our transgender service members. General Martin Dempsey said of our transgender troops that, ‘The service of men and women who volunteer and who meet our standards of service is a blessing, not a burden.’
And Admiral Mike Mullen stated that, ‘I led our armed forces under the flawed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy and saw firsthand the harm to readiness and morale when we fail to treat all service members according to the same standards. 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.’ Admiral Mullen urged civilian leaders ‘to respect the military’s judgment and not to breach the faith of service members who defend our freedoms.’
We could not agree more.”