Views expressed in opinion columns are the author's own.
Trump's ban on transgender people in the military spits in the face of LGBTQ progress. The ban, which was proposed over a month ago, was only signed into effect last Friday. It is not particularly shocking that Trump's campaign promise to "fight for LGBTQ Americans" was a lie to get votes.
To ban trans people from the military is an act of outright discrimination and isn't founded on any legitimate evidence. A number of studies have concluded that gender reassignment treatment poses a minuscule and inconsequential cost to the military. Only a small portion of trans people in the military seek any medical care related to gender reassignment, and their treatment would cost anywhere between $2.4 – $8.4 million, according to an analysis by RAND Corp.
The total healthcare budget for the U.S. military is close to $50 billion.
The cost of transgender-related health issues takes up 0.04-0.13 percent of the entire military budget, which is almost $600 billion. This fact makes Trump's ban appear even more arbitrarily discriminatory than anything else.
But there's another problem here. This ban is a major insult to all current and past transgender military personnel. This nation believes so deeply in honoring its veterans and serving soldiers, and this ban devalues the service of these people.
There are anywhere between 1,300 and 6,600 transgender people in the military — not including veterans — and the ban invalidates the hard work and dangerous situations these individuals have borne to protect this nation. It is unbelievably callous of Trump to make such an invalidation.
Trump has not only insulted current and past trans military personnel, he has also deterred many LGBTQ people who had wanted to serve in the military — such as University of Maryland senior Yamile Guraieb. Guraieb had wanted to join the military since she was 11 years old, but felt the ban was attacking her as a queer woman of color. She is just one of many who felt this way.
Even Trump's tweet, which referred to transgender human beings in the military as "transgender in the military" was incredibly dehumanizing. It showed the utter lack of appreciation Trump has for people who risk their lives for his protection, even if their identity is a deviation from what is considered the norm. These individuals have been reduced to "transgender," which is just one part of their identity. And, frankly, another part of their identity is serving to protect the people in this country, but Trump doesn't bother to acknowledge that.
Unfortunately, Trump has pushed the United States backwards in terms of social progress in a number of ways. We can only hope the damage he has done to civil rights in the United States can be fixed as easily as it was broken.
Liyanga de Silva is a sophomore English major. She can be reached at email@example.com.