In a series of tweets on Wednesday, President Trump banned transgender individuals from serving "in any capacity in the U.S. military." The president claimed that the reason behind this ban was because the military needed to focus on victory and "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs" transgender individuals bring to the military. But how much are medical costs for a trans person in the military? Is it really worth a ban?
Trump's excuse that the reason to ban transgender individuals is based on how much their healthcare costs the military is absolutely absurd. In 2016, President Obama approved a policy that would have allowed transgender recruits to serve in the army, reported The Washington Post. From that time, the military had a full year to determine how to "implement a policy that would allow transgender service members to receive medical care and would ban the services from involuntarily separating people in the military who came out as transgender." But a RAND Corporation study, commissioned by the Defense Department in 2016, should have given Trump all the information he needed on how much of the medical costs paid by the Department of Defense in a year were related to transgender people serving in the military. Out of $49.3 billion spent in 2014 by the Department of Defense on health care, between $2.4 million and $8.4 million of those costs are estimated to be related to transgender services.
According to CNN, the RAND study found that there would be a "possibility of 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year in the military, with 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members." Basically? An "exceedingly small proportion," according to the study.
But numbers aside? The big thing is that it really doesn't matter. It's none of our business how much money the Department of Defense spends on transgender-related health services. The National Center for Transgender Quality estimated that there are over 134,000 transgender American veterans and approximately 15,000 trans people serving in the military today. That means there's about 150,000 transgender people putting their lives on the line every day to fight for America and its citizens.
That's the number Trump should be focusing on — not how much a transgender person's health costs may be, but how much they're sacrificing every day to protect him, this country, and the very freedom he claims to love so much.
Not how much it costs to get them the care they so very much deserve.