WASHINGTON (ABC4 Utah) President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the United States armed forces.
The decision reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, which was still under final review, that would allow transgender individuals to openly serve in the military.
About 2,450 military servicemembers are transgender, according to a study by the RAND Corporation, though the estimated number of transgender service members has varied. Some estimates place the number as high as 11,000 in the reserves and active duty military.
Equality Utah members are upset after Trump’s announcement. Troy Williams, executive director says:
“We already have qualified and trained transgender troops who are ready to serve their country. Discharging them based on their gender identity goes against our values of hard work and community.”
Senator Orrin Hatch says he’s disappointed in the decision. Utah Indivisble sent a tweet to Utah lawmakers asking if they stand with transgender Utahns. Hatch’s response was: yes.
He also went on to say: “I don’t think we should be discriminating against anyone. Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them. I look forward to getting much more information and clarity from our military leaders about the policy the President tweeted today.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not have an answer on what would happen to active transgender military members but said the White House and the Defense Department would work together “as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.”
Sanders said transgender service “erodes military readiness and unit cohesion” citing health costs. She said the move was based on a “military decision” and is “not meant to be anything more than” that.