It's been a month since the announcement of the latest iteration of the GOP administration’s ban on Transgender service in the U.S. military, jeopardizing up to 15,000 currently serving US troops as well as possibly preventing future Trans volunteers.


What’s changed in a month? What’s changed since the LAST Trump ban on Trans people? What’s changed since the original ban on Trans service, remnants of the old DADT “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy?


Well, very little of substance has changed in a month.


There are new lawsuits against the administration, the policy actions are still constrained by the federal court injunction, and there’s still no evidence provided by the military to justify the ban, even though the White House continues to make that claim. The military had concluded otherwise; there’s no detrimental effect of having qualified Trans troops serve to force lethality, unit cohesion, or logistics.


But this is a perfectly normal level of chaos in the kakistocratic nepotistic grifter’s paradise known as the Trump administration.


There HAVE been increasing steps by the White House to walk back from its position that the military provided the data mandating exclusion.


It’s very telling that the confirming report banning Trans Americans from service issued by Gen. Mattis on Feb. 22 does not list the professionals, studies, credentials, or organizations from which (the president can order the Pentagon to release the report even if the White House gave them its material in whole) the Trump-Mattis policy is derived.


There are other discrepancies and questions about the newest ban language and its origin. Here’s some historical context.


Recap of anti-transgender action regarding military service:


  1. DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), February 28, 1994-September 20, 2011. This policy banned the open service of lesbian, gay and bisexual troops. Superiors could not directly ask about sexual orientation, and other-than-heterosexuals could not openly BE non-heterosexual. At the time, this was considered a sour win. It would enable currently serving LGB service members to remain, and allow LGB persons to join, as long as they remained closeted and weren’t outed in any way that came to the attention of command. It left intact the decades-old legislation and regulations banning non-heterosexual troops from service. It DID prevent prima facie investigation and fishing expeditions against LGB persons. It also allowed for the blackmail and abuse of LGB service members, facing prosecution and discharge if outed.
  2. A whole lot had changed in terms of Trans recognition and awareness in the 17 years of DADT. The American Psychological Association (APA) announced in 2011 that the DSM-V update to be released in 2013 would depathologize being transgender. This was a signal amongst others for the Obama administration to move. The Obama administration requested the Department of Defense to commission the Rand Corporation to study the impact of openly serving Trans troops on troop readiness, unit cohesion, and force lethality as well as cost. The findings summary includes “Related health care treatment {costs} are relatively low” and “Previous integration efforts and the experiences of foreign militaries indicate a minimal likely impact on force readiness”.
  3. On July 26th, 2017, we received by Imperial Tweet the following:
  4. The Mattis Report was released 2/22/18 reversing the RAND National Defense Institute pro-Trans recommendation.
  5. The Trump Trans military ban was reaffirmed and rolled out in Version 3.0, March 29th, 2018, virtually identical to the original.
  6. The report claims great cost to treat Trans troops, either with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and/or Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS). But it even mentions, on pages 13/14, the same figure of 2.4 million dollars to 8.4 million. This is less than the military spends on VIAGRA and Cialis in a year, using the higher figure of $8.4 million, by a factor of EIGHT. Total US military health care costs for FY2014 were 6 billion dollars. If we use the higher cost figure for providing transition care for Trans troops, the costs are .0014% of military annual medical costs. That’s like a box of toilet paper falling off of a truck. The Pentagon spills more gas than that. That’s $9.10 extra healthcare expenditure per troop. That’s NOTHING for an organization that spends over half of our discretionary annual federal budget and 52% of GLOBAL defense spending. Trump just gave them a $130,000,000,000.00 increase in spending.
  7. Readiness-the myth that Trans troops cannot deploy because of medication needs, is also cited and is false. Shelf stable versions of HRT exist for Trans women (Estradiol and medroxyprogesterone) and for Trans men (testosterone cypionate suspended in oil).
  8. The Mattis report repeated the claim that significant mental health comorbidities such as suicide, depression, and anxiety accompany the diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria. This is used as a tool of the Right to deny every transgender and gender nonconforming person’s basic human dignity as well as civil rights. Yet they didn’t mention the fact that after social transition/living affirmed in their actual gender vs. the gender assigned at birth, Trans’ peoples symptomology decreases greatly, leaving levels only slightly elevated above the general population.This Faustian bargain was of course a disgrace against serving LGB troops and perfectly qualified LGB candidates for service; the ban against service remained in place until the DADT repeal September 20, 2011.


(Anyone wanting to read more about the persecution of LGB service members leading up to DADT, I highly recommend reading “Conduct Unbecoming”, written by the author of the highly acclaimed “AND THE BAND PLAYED ON”, Randy Shilts. (Rest in peace, Randy. Wish you were here. You died too goddamned young, like too many.))


In the eyes of the 1994 US military, Transgender people were assumed to be a variation of homosexual, without separate legal/illegal status, until the repeal of DADT. After 2011, lesbian, gay, and bisexual troops could openly serve with the same honor and dignity and opportunity for distinction as other troops (just as immigrant soldiers, Indigenous Peoples’ soldiers, Black soldiers, and female soldiers fought and won earlier battles for inclusion).


But not Transgender people. Never Transgender people.


RAND Report Assessing Military Readiness and Trans Troops 2016


These are the conclusions of a respected third party working with the Pentagon.


As a result, President Obama ordered a timeline for open Trans troop integration.


Trans troops could serve openly and recruits could join openly as well beginning in June of 2016.


Unfortunately, 11/8/16 happened, and the Trump administration began a rollback of transgender and LGBTQIA+ rights.


“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”.


Well, Trans soldiers had a whopping year and a month to serve their country openly and honorably.




One thing - I mentioned the RAND report listed its research questions, partners, methodologies, experts.


The new Mattis Report doesn’t quote new sources of information. It cherry-picks old ones and outrageously inflates accepted material.


In fact, the Mattis Report employs common mythologies used against Trans/LGBTQIA+ populations by the Religious Right (particularly by Tony Perkins of FRC, Family Research Council, frequent Trump White House guest and Trump advisor, and author of the anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQIA+ language of the 2016 and current Republican National Committee party platform).




Surgeries for Trans women average a two month healing period before return to duty, well within FMLA guidelines, and many GCS procedures for Trans men fall into a similar time frame.


So where are we now? A month after the latest ban, seven years after the explicit ban? We’re right where we have been.


Federal judges had slapped injunctions on the Trump administration stopping any rollout or execution of this policy by the Pentagon.


Judges decline-to-lift-injunctions-against-trump-trans-troop-ban 2018


The judges have left the injunctions in place.


This just means more limbo for the Trans troops, recruits, their significant others, families, and for all of the commanders who at SOME point would like to have orders that they can follow. Meanwhile, the Obama era rules apply.


This is but a small measure of comfort for all the thousands of Americans affected by this policy.


It’s also a great big question mark for all Americans-what happens next after one group is explicitly targeted for legalized discrimination, openly and callously?


As Americans, we all deserve better than this.


Now I have to stop with my narrative of fact and statistic and quotes.


Now I want to speak as a Trans person.


Why do they hate us so much?


The religious extremists, the Christian Evangelicals, the GOP, why do they hate us so virulently?


The ick factor, our appearance, our defiance and will to live, what is it that makes them hate us so very much?



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