World

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump stirred a firestorm Wednesday after tweeting that he plans to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military in’ any capacity’, escalating his clash with LGBT community.


Article continues after the advertisement

Citing advice from his “generals” and medical costs, Trump reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, which was still under final review and would have allowed transgender individuals to openly serve in the military.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump said in a series of tweets Wednesday morning. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”  “Thank you,” he added.

Backlash from LGBT advocacy groups

The sweeping policy decision was met with surprise at the Pentagon and outrage from advocacy groups, NY Times reported.

The Human Rights Campaign’s president, Chad Griffin, issued a statement describing the move as “the latest effort by Trump and Mike Pence to undo our progress and drag LGBTQ people back into the closet by using our lives as political pawns.”

Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU, described Trump as a “commander-in chief who rejects [the] basic humanity” of transgender people in a statement condemning the decision.

However, the Family Research Council praised Trump’s action.

“I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to return to military priorities – and not continue the social experimentation of the Obama era that has crippled our nation’s military,” FRC President Tony Perkins said in a statement. “The military can now focus its efforts on preparing to fight and win wars rather than being used to advance the Obama social agenda.

According to Fox News, Pentagon has refused to release any data on the number of transgender troops currently serving. A RAND study found that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in the active-duty military, and another 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves.

According to the study, allowing transgender people to serve in the military would have a “minimal impact” on the health care costs.