WASHINGTON, D.C., August 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — President Trump issued a memorandum to the armed forces stopping transgenders from entering military service and cutting off tax dollars for troop sex “changes.”
The Commander-in-Chief explained that openly transgender soldiers may “hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources.” He added that “further study is needed.”
Former President Obama opened the gates to transgenders in the military only months before leaving office, setting July 2017 for implementation. In doing so, Obama effectively handed the thorny problem to his successor.
Obama’s controversial move was criticized for its effect on troop unity and morale and for the cost to the taxpayer of sex “change” surgeries and months off duty for recovery.
During the presidential campaign, Trump joined the critics of the Obama transgender military policy. As president, he granted the armed forces’ request for more time to study the Obama directive’s impact before implementing it. And last month, he tweeted his decision that he was not going to allow transgenders to serve.
Trump’s memorandum on Friday directs Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke to delay implementation indefinitely “until such time” that Trump is convinced the policy “would not have the negative effects.”
The president did not close the door completely to transgenders in the military. His memorandum says Mattis and Duke “may advise me at any time, in writing, that a change to this policy is warranted.”
Friday’s presidential order also halted tax dollars for troop sex “change” operations, except in cases where the soldier’s health requires finishing transgender “treatment” already begun. The president did not specify how stopping opposite sex hormones or cancelling surgeries would hurt anyone’s health.
Christians and social conservative groups applauded the decision. The Family Research Council (FRC) praised Trump for “returning our military to its core mission” of “winning wars.” FRC noted that “nearly 60 percent of active duty military personnel have a ‘negative opinion’ of the Obama transgender policy.”
The Center for Military Readiness’ Elaine Donnelly told the Associated Press, “Expensive, lifelong hormone treatments and irreversible surgeries associated with gender dysphoria would negatively affect personal deployability and mission readiness, without resolving underlying psychological problems, including high risks of suicide.”
“When it comes to our nation’s military, priority should always be given to what is best for combat readiness and morale, not political correctness or the latest ideological fad,” American Principles Project executive director Terry Schilling said. “Social experimentation of this kind is never a good idea, especially when it comes at the expense of our country’s national security.”
“We applaud the president for once again backing up words with action,” Schilling added.
“President Trump is doing what he promised: putting the military’s focus where it belongs — fighting and winning wars,” FRC president and former Marine Tony Perkins said in a press release. “Political correctness doesn’t win wars — and the President is ending policies that pretend it does.”
Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (ret.), FRC executive vice president and former Delta Force commander, put sex “change” surgery expenditures into perspective. “Every cent spent on this politically-correct exercise is money that could prepare our troops for war,” he said. “Every second wasted in ‘transgender sensitivity training’ is time that could be spent on the rifle range.”
Perkins concluded that Trump “is listening to (soldiers’) concerns about distractions that hinder their mission.” He said the decision “prioritizes military readiness while also showing respect for those who currently serve and identify as transgender.”
Boykin concluded, “Every American should thank President Trump for boldly prioritizing our military’s war-fighting capabilities by lifting this unnecessary burden from those preparing and fighting to achieve victory.”
FRC senior fellow for policy studies Peter Sprigg’s research showed that Obama’s transgender military policy could have cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars in the next decade.
Trump told his Defense and Homeland Security Departments to come up with a plan to work out his decision by February 2018.
Regarding what to do with soldiers who have already publicly “transitioned,” Trump left the decision to Mattis. But Trump directed Mattis to base his decisions on “military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant.”
A White House official who briefed reporters assured the mainstream media that Trump will “continue to ensure … the rights of the LGBTQ community,” but explained the memorandum “is based on a series of national security considerations.”
A Military Times/Institute for Veterans and Military Families online survey late last year found 84 percent of respondents did not think allowing transgenders to serve openly would raise morale, and more than half believe it would have a very negative effect on troop morale. More than 40 percent thought it would even hurt their unit’s readiness for combat.
Lawsuits against the Trump transgender military ban have already been filed. Five anonymous active duty transgenders say the decision takes away their “equal protection” and constitutional “due process.”
Democrats are lining up to oppose the decision. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, and Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, have announced plans for a bill blocking the directive as soon as Congress resumes.
With Republicans in the majority of both the House and Senate, a Congressional block would only pass with the help of Republicans such as John McCain, who blocked Trump’s attempted repeal of Obamacare.