In a bold move, the state Guard defends its transgender servicemen, despite the president’s mandate.
By Lee Villanueva, Staff Writer
The California National Guard has chosen to reject President Donald Trump’s ban of transgender people serving in the military and inspires other states to do the same.
The Trump administration rolled out a mandate that reversed protections set by former President Barack Obama’s administration which allowed transgender persons to openly serve in the military.
In 2017, President Trump tweeted, “We can not be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
A new policy was created by former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, which allowed for 1,000 trans-identifying troops to remain while prohibiting new enlistees diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who have had gender reassignment surgery.
The Supreme Court ruled in January 2019 that the Trump Administration could begin enforcing the policy. According to the Defense Department, more than 15,000 transgender service members will be allowed to continue serving in the armed forces as long as they receive a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria, according to the American Psychiatric Association, involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. The Pentagon’s controversial policy will require that everyone must serve as their biological sex.
“Whether or not an individual under him is transgender will not dictate their capability to performing their duty,” said Major General Matthew Beevers to the Hill. “Every transgender soldier or airmen currently serving will remain in our ranks.”
The president announced via Twitter in July 2017 that he would restrict the military service of transgender people who live with gender dysphoria. Trump cited the cost of medical care as a factor for the trans-ban. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote to lift injunctions “against transgender persons” placed early on in Trump’s presidency.
As reported by Morgan Brinlee of Bustle.com, in 2014 an estimated 2,450 out of 13 million serving in the U.S. military claimed gender dysphoria. In the reserves, another 1,510 out of 800,000 were also trans according to The Pew Research Center. They also report that the cost of transition-related treatment would range from $2.4 to $8.4 million, a small fraction of the annual military budget; Pew reports the military healthcare budget at more than $43 billion.
Key concerns about the Obama-era policy were whether transgender troops had medical or other issues that altered their ability to deploy.
Nevada’s National Guard, the states Washington, Oregon and New Mexico will now join California in defiance of Trump’s ban, according to an article by Samantha Allen in The Daily Beast. All fifty states and four U.S. Territories have a gubernatorial controlled National Guard which allows for the challenge to the Trump Administration’s ban.
The California National Guard will continue to ignore Trump’s ban because they answer to state Governors and are able to look past federal policies. Beevers has stated his intent to continue ignoring this policy and will continue to explore options for transgender individuals to serve the California National Guard.
“As long as you fight, we don’t care what gender you identify as, nobody’s going to kick you out,” said Beevers to The Advocate.