August 1, 2017
A Statement from the INBA Board of Directors:
Last week, Donald Trump announced via Twitter that transgender Americans will no longer be allowed to serve in any capacity in the military, citing that the U.S. military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”. This reversal of the 2016 decision to allow transgender troops to serve openly, receive medical care, and change their gender identity in the Pentagon’s personnel system has understandably outraged members of the LGBT community and their allies.
The president clearly does not understand that unlike business and civilian life, when a military person puts on a uniform, they are no longer individuals, they are soldiers that work to make a cohesive fighting unit. Military leaders have said that the military does not care about soldier’s sexual orientation or gender identity, it cares that they follow orders, completes a mission, defends their fellow soldiers and defends our country.
As the region’s LGBTA chamber of commerce representing over 250 businesses and their thousands of employees, INBA knows that transgender people are valuable members in the workplace and our community but they face the most discrimination as evident in legislation passed in other states by so called “Bathroom Bills.” The 2016 Rand Study commissioned by the Pentagon states that medical costs for transgender military members would be an “exceedingly small portion of active-component health care expenditures”, a finding that is in direct contradiction to the President’s rationale. There are roughly 11,000 active duty personnel that identify as transgender and many have highly specialized training. The cost of replacing and retraining those transgender troops is an additional expense Donald Trump has not considered. In the face of this evidence, the President’s announcement is nothing short of bigotry and an attempt to deny transgender people visibility and their rightful place in the military and our society.