Transgenders Are Not Banned from Trump’s Military [OPINION]
President Trump has launched a worldwide campaign to decriminalize homosexuality. Sounds bizarre by our standards, but the fact is there are 72 countries that currently treat homosexuality as a crime. In some, such as Saudi Arabia, it is a capital offense.
The self-anointed "gay leadership," including GLAD or GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders which operates much the same way Sharpton and Jackson do in the black community, have denounced Trump's efforts as a political trick suggesting that it rings hollow because it says Trump has a horrible record on gay issues.
Asked for an example, they cite Trump's ban on transgenders in the military. The only problem with that is that there is no outright ban on transgenders in the military.
Prior to Barack Obama, no administration allowed transgenders to serve openly in the military. Obama flung the door open on his way out in 2016. All other presidents from G. Washington to G. "W" did not allow transgenders to serve openly. Obama didn't either for almost his entire eight years in office. Four years prior, Obama didn't even support same-sex marriage. Why would his policy on transgenders change at the last moment?
The Washington Post says the Trump plan would bar men and women from the military who identify with a gender different from their birth gender and who are seeking to transition. The plan does, however, make exceptions; for instance, for about 900 transgender individuals who are already serving openly and for others who would serve in accordance with their birth gender.
A federal appeals court recently upheld the Trump policy saying, "the record indicates that the plan allows some transgender persons” who had been previously barred to join and serve.
In overturning a lower court ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said, “the District Court made an erroneous finding that the [administration’s policy] was the equivalent of a blanket ban on transgender service.” The court said it is not a “blanket ban” because “not all transgender persons seek to transition to their preferred gender or have gender dysphoria.”
This administration, as all administrations before it, is correct to express concern about admitting all who identify as transgender into the military. It is not a matter of discrimination but an issue about the physical and mental health of the individuals wishing to enlist. Military leaders are charged with assembling the best and most powerful fighting force on the planet and must be given some latitude in determining who gets to serve.
In addition to all of that, there is a tremendous cost to the taxpayer for medical expenses associated with service members transitioning from one gender to another.
This case will likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, but until that time the administration continues to abide by the lower court ruling that allows transgenders to enlist and serve in the military.
Since announcing his candidacy for president, Trump has been labeled a homophobe by his detractors. Keep in mind in this political environment you need no proof, just the desire to besmirch your opponent's character and a little help from the media and the charge sticks.
Trump makes policy decisions that are in the best interest of all Americans and not individual special interests. That's the way that it should be. There is no evidence to suggest that Trump discriminates against any group based on their sexuality.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.