When Trump announced this week, via Twitter and without conferring with the Department of Defense about specifics first, his intention to bar transgender individuals from military service, he did offer a rationale.
He did not crouch it in moralistic or religious terms from some kind of social conservative worldview. He did not make a sociological case about the effects of joint service on unit cohesion. He cited not a single fact or single instance of a problem presented after years of our military allowing trans-gendered individuals to serve.
He cited, specifically “tremendous medical costs” that trans-gendered individuals represented to him.
So… to be clear… we can’t afford medical costs for trans in the military, but…
Over 800 military bases in more than 70 countries, actively bombing a good 5-7, training rebels that hate us, arming countries like Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, an epidemic of PTSD and suicide among many vets, spending more on our military than the next eight nations combined, and Trump announcing plans for a new branch of the military for outer SPACE (a move that is sure to break the Outer Space Treaty) is perfectly peachy?
Something tells me this has nothing to do with cost.
Were he concerned with cost, his first proposed budget to Congress would not have included a 54 billion dollar increase in military spending, one of the few areas of the budget to see a marked rise. Were he concerned with cost, he wouldn’t be as concerned with an estimated $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, according to the RAND Corporation within a nearly 700 billion dollar defense budget.
Put in context, the military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on reassignment surgeries. Of course, we can’t disenfranchise males from the military, but what about females? Female medical costs over a lifetime of VA benefits are significantly higher than costs for males, given gender (sorry… sex) specific healthcare issues like childbirth. Hell, taking it back out of medical costs, the military spends $1.87 million per tomahawk missile. If we just bombed one less wedding or hospital per year, we’d save more than the addition medical costs from the entirety of the estimated 2 to 10 thousand trans-gendered servicemen. Hell, one F-35 jet is about $100 million, and purchasing one less could make up the difference many times over.
Outside of what constitutes a “tremendous” cost in context, there is another issue that shows that this at very least isn’t his primary motivation. Paying for gender reassignment surgeries can easily be handled as an entirely separate issue than whether or not trans-gendered individuals can serve at all. An amendment to this year’s NDAA aimed to do exactly that, and could easily be revived, allowing our military to refuse to fund gender reassignment surgeries while employing trans-gendered servicemen.
Regardless of what arguments one might make for barring trans-gendered individuals from the military, cost is not on the list of persuasive ones, if such a list even exists.
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