Donald Trump's Transgender Military Ban
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Donald Trump's Transgender Military Ban refers to a controversial policy proposal by United States President Donald Trump that would ban transgender people from serving in the military. While President Trump cites the specific medical costs associated with transgender troops, among the public, politicians and military personnel the announcement has been the subject of intense debate.
On the morning of July 26th, 2017, President Donald Trump tweeted a statement on transgender U.S. citizens serving in the military. Over three tweets (shown below), he wrote:
"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. 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."
Each tweet was retweeted more than 40,000 times and liked more than 110,000 times.
The tweets, however, do not immediately put the ban into law. However, the topic is set for debate in the 2017 Defense Spending Bill, which could rollback medical services specific to transgender people. Shortly after the tweets, Captain Jeff Davis, the Pentagon Spokesman, seemingly caught by surprise by the announcement, said they were deferring all questions to the White House, but did not announce whether they would implement the policy. He wrote:
"We refer all questions about the President's statements to the White House. We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military. We will provide a revised guidance to the Department in the near future."
According to Politico, the decision to make the announcement was in return for passing a spending bill that would help the President keep his campaign promises, such as the Mexican boarder wall. They wrote, "But an internal House Republican fight over transgender troops was threatening to blow up the bill. And House GOP insiders feared they might not have the votes to pass the legislation because defense hawks wanted a ban on Pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations -- something GOP leaders wouldn’t give them."
Federal Judge Blocks Ban
On October 30th, 2017, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration's proposed ban on transgender military recruits. The court decreed that the Defense Department must return to the rules as stated before the Trump administration took office. Therefore, the Obama-era rules on transgender recruits must remain as of January 1st, 2018. They wrote:
"Revert to the status quo with regard to accession and retention that existed before the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum--that is, the retention and accession policies established in the June 30, 2016 Directive-type Memorandum as modified by Secretary of Defense James Mattis on June 30, 2017."
However, despite the ruling against the outright ban, Judge U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Trump's rollback on the military funding gender reassignment surgery would stand.
BuzzFeed reporter Dominic Holder tweeted a statement from the Department of Justice on the blockade (shown below). The DOJ "disagreed" with the ruling and called it "premature."
On November 27th, 2017, the judge clarified her ruling. She wrote:
"The Court explained that the effect of its Order was to revert to the status quo with regard to accession and retention that existed before the issuance of the [Trump] Presidential Memorandum. Those policies allowed for the accession of transgender individuals into the military beginning on January 1, 2018. Any action by any of the Defendants that changes this status quo is preliminarily enjoined."
Shortly after President Trump made his statements, news outlets, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News and more reported on the story.
Following the Federal Judge's ruling on the ban, several news outlets covered the story, including BuzzFeed, Vox, Vice  and more.
That morning, lawmakers began commenting on the tweets, with most denouncing the statement. The Washington Post compiled a series of reactions, reporting that several Republican politicians found the announcement ill-timed and confusing. Senator John McCain said, "Yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter […] There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military -- regardless of their gender identity."
In a tweet, Senator Orrin Hatch said, "I don't think we should be discriminating against anyone. Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them. I look forward to getting much more information and clarity from our military leaders about the policy the President tweeted today." The tweet (shown below) received more than 3,500 retweets and 8,800 likes in less than 24 hours.
Democrats, by and large, opposed the announcement, calling it "discriminatory." Representative Adam Smith said:
"These service members are defending the United States around the world as we speak, and they have long done so with distinction,” he said. “To prevent transgender people from joining the military and to push out those who have devoted their lives to this country would be ugly and discriminatory in the extreme."
Reactions online to Trump's decision varied, but most seemed confused by and opposed to the decision. More specifically, many wondered why the President made this announcement and not Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who was on vacation at the time of the tweet. Shortly after the tweets, Twitter user @AdamBlickstein tweeted, "Trump announced transgender ban while his Defense Secretary was ON VACATION. Essentially confirms a political decision from WH, not DOD led." The tweet (shown below) received more than 5,200 retweets and 9,100 likes in 24 hours.
Many on Twitter posted their support of trans and LGBTQ communities, commenting that many of them had served with transgender soldiers. Chelsea Manning tweeted (shown below, left) "so, biggest baddest most $$ military on earth cries about a few trans people 😩 but funds the F-35? 😑 sounds like cowardice 😎💕🌈 #WeGotThis." The tweet received more than 18,000 retweets and 58,000 likes in less than 36 hours. Others on twitter shared her sentiment (shown below, center and right).
People online also pulled the President's daughter Ivanka into the controversy. Ivanka had, earlier that month, tweeted her support for the LGTBQ community, which many argued this policy change contradicts. On June 1st, 2017, she tweeted (shown below), "I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy." The tweet received more than 6,900 retweets and 26,000 likes in over a month.
Many online were quick to retweet Ivanka and questioning whether or not she still supports the LGBTQ community (examples below).
Twitter published several Moments pages on the announcement, the reaction and other news about the controversy.
That day, on the subreddit /r/DankMemes, the controversy became fodder for jokes about the transgender community and liberals, amassing in the thousands of points. The most popular, posted by Redditor onesugar, featured a man talking to a nurse in a hospital bed. The photograph was captioned "Nurse: Congrats. You're sex change operation was successful Me: oh boy I can't wait to serve in the military." The post (shown below) received more than 26,000 points (80% upvoted) and 420 comments in less than 24 hours.
Also on Reddit, Redditor irememberyou2 posted "Trump just announced a ban on all transgender people from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military" in the /r/lgbt subreddit, received more than 21,000 points (71% upvoted) and 440 comments. Additionally, posts in /r/BikiniBottomTwitter, a SpongeBob SquarePants subreddit, received more than 50,000 points (79% upvoted). There were also posts in /r/PoliticalHumor, /r/News, /r/The_Donald  and more that received tens of thousands of points.
Following the Federal Judge's ruling to block the ban, Twitter published a Moments page on the reaction to the news.
 Twitter – @realDonaldTrump's Tweet
 Twitter – @realDonaldTrump's Tweet
 Twitter – @realDonaldTrump's Tweet
 The New York Times – Trump Says Transgender People Will Not Be Allowed in the Military
 The Washington Post – Trump announces ban on transgender people in U.S. military
 Fox News – Trump announces ban on transgender individuals serving in military
 The Washington Post – Hill Democrats slam Trump’s military transgender ban, while GOP is caught by surprise
 Politico – Inside Trump’s snap decision to ban transgender troops
 Twitter – @AdamBlickstein's Tweet
 Twitter – @xychelsea's Tweet
 Twitter – Trump bans transgender people from serving in US military
 Twitter – @IvankaTrump's Tweet
 Reddit – Quite Unlucky
 Twitter – @senorrinhatch's Tweet
 Reddit – Trump just announced a ban on all transgender people from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military
 Reddit – The U.S. military refusing to accept a transgender recruit.
 Reddit – Transgender people…
 Reddit – Transgender people 'can't serve' US army
 Reddit – /r/The_Donald
 Document Cloud – Transgender Ruling
 Twitter – @dominicholden's Tweet
 Spinter News – Trump's Trans Military Ban Blocked by Federal Judge
 Twitter – Federal judge rules that Trump must implement Obama-era transgender recruitment policy in 2018
 BuzzFeed – Federal Judge Rules That Military Must Move Forward With Plan Allowing Transgender Recruits
 Vox – Federal judge: military must allow transgender recruits starting on January 1
 Vice – Trump’s trans military ban just got slapped down again
Jul 27, 2017 at 11:46AM EDT
Jul 27, 2017 at 01:05PM EDT
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