I’ve spent much of the day trying to make some sort of sense of the president reinstating the ban on open transgendered persons from serving in the military. It’s worth noting that trans folks have only been allowed to serve since June 2016; the last half of the last year of Obama’s term. Not like it was a huge priority. However, the LGBT community is rightly interpreting this as a setback.
It’s something I didn’t expect either, as I had thought Trump would be fairly neutral on LGBT issues. So I have to wonder: why should Trump bother with this, why now?
I’m not against this decision, nor am I for it. When it comes to any LGBT issue, I generally see that the outcome only affects a tiny percentage of the population and so long as it doesn’t injure or harass me, I don’t care. When issues arise about social issues in the military though, my only question is whether or not the change benefits readiness and the ability of our armed forces to destroy our enemies. My opinion is that transgendered people, individually, probably do have a negative effect on unit readiness that may be somewhat offset by their skills. But there are so few of them (maybe 5,000 or less?) in the military that it should be irrelevant.
All I can do is wonder why this was done. Trump didn’t have to do it to appease the evangelicals. The military couldn’t possibly have suffered any crippling consequences from adopting this policy just over a year ago. Even if they were, there are a dozen other issues far more impactful than a miniscule number of Trap Troops. There’s enough going on in the news about Imran Awan that Trump didn’t need (nor should he have wanted) a distraction from anything else.
My guess is that it comes down to Trump’s desire to effectively erase anything that could pass for an Obama legacy achievement where he has the power to do so. Nothing else makes sense. Well, I guess that doesn’t really make sense either, but that’s what he does.