The Transgender Ban Is All About Bigotry and Distraction
(Counterpunch) The Supreme Court just paved the way for Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military to move ahead, at least pending other court challenges. The ban will harm the military and help no one, while doing nothing to address the nation’s real problems.
I’m neither transgender nor in the military, but I count several trans people, including trans vets, among my closest friends. I can’t speak for them. I can, however, speak as their friend — and as a sociologist who teaches about gender at the college level.
Trump cites the cost of medical care for transgender people undergoing transition as the reason for his ban. Yet many transgender people never have surgery, and those who do may wait until after they’re finished serving in the military to do it.
Hormone treatments and gender confirmation surgeries for transgender service members together are estimated to cost $8.4 million annually at most — that’s five times less than the military spends on Viagra. And it’s nearly 200 times less than the Department of Defense spends on health care and lost days of work due to smoking.
And yet service personnel are allowed to smoke. In fact, service members at many commands often have an entire culture built around enabling tobacco use, despite all of the costs. If this were actually about the cost of military health care, perhaps a smoking cessation program would be a better option than a transgender ban.