The nasty guy issued a ban on transgender people serving in the military. As usual, he announced the ban on Twitter. His reasons (all of them, of course, bogus) include that medical care for transgender people (hormone therapy, perhaps reassignment surgery) would be a burden.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says no change of policy – at least not until the Sec’y of Defense is officially notified and issues implementation guidance.
The ban will be contested in court. Some courts say transgender people are included in laws that ban discrimination based on sex. Some courts don’t. Supremes haven’t said yet.
There were big protests in Times Square, San Francisco, and elsewhere.
Nasty guy claims transgender care is too much of a burden for the military. Such care might be as much as $8 million. Defense health care is about $49 billion – so trans care is a rounding error. The military spends about $84 million on Viagra – keeping men happy is 10 times the burden of caring for transgender people. Every time the nasty guy visits Mar-A-Lago it costs the gov’t about $2 million – so trans care is about 4 trips.
Huffpost calls it all a distraction – from the Senate healthcare games, from Russia, from… whatever.
Even some Republicans are sticking up for trans soldiers. A White House official said the announcement was to divide the opposition by forcing Democrats to own the issue. That quickly backfired.
The reaction from many Western countries was: That’s a weird thing to do. A Canadian military band played at a pride parade. British military leaders said their armed forces are better with diversity. A Scottish Member of Parliament wants to introduce the nasty guy to their fine service members who happen to be trans. A former general in the Israeli says the military shouldn’t meddle in soldier’s personal lives.
Michelangelo Signorile expands on the distraction idea:
The background is the nasty guy and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It seems the nasty guy assumed the AG is to protect the president, not the country. The nasty guy is now feeling the heat and his AG isn’t doing anything about it.
It doesn’t help that Sessions is doing exactly what conservatives want in dismantling all the little things Obama put in place to lessen oppression on those who aren’t white males. With this base backing him Sessions can declare he isn’t going anywhere.
So what’s a bully to do? Pick on a group he knows he can pick on.
The Defense Department’s policy on trans soldiers is only a year old. Since the vice nasty guy took office he’s been looking for ways to overturn that policy. He tried amending various military bills, which failed and made the base furious.
The boss’s need for someone to pick on meshed with the vice’s need to accomplish by executive order what he couldn't accomplish through Congress.