In light of President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. military would no longer begin integrating openly trans recruits, it felt necessary to establish a few facts about the current state of trans members of the military.

Right now, the U.S. military is the nation’s largest employer of trans Americans, providing jobs for about 15,000. These soldiers and other members of the military joined and served despite the fact that the military had an ongoing ban on their service, much like ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’

Because of the current status of the military, these members are serving their country dilligently, willing to live and die for our freedoms. The large number of 15,000 may come as a surprise to many because, surprise surprise, their service is not a “distraction” as Trump described it. Instead, they are doing what every other soldier does – serving us.

Beginning in June of this year, an Obama-era rule change was set to take place, rolling back the discriminatory ban and making the process for trans recruits to join up and serve transparent and easy. Instead, Pentagon Head James Mattis put a hold on the rule change, citing a need for further research and inquiry.

Congressional Republicans wanted Mattis to go further, and proposed a bill in the House to remove healthcare coverage for any trans member of the military seeking healthcare treatment in connection with being trans. They also called on the delay of the rule change to be made permanent to keep things simpler (and more comfortable for them).

The cost for this simple change? About eight million dollars a year. Mere pennies compared to the amount of money the American taxpayer has already contributed to house and protect the Trump family as they gallivant around the nation.


And yet it was this cost, in part, that Trump blamed for his discriminatory decision.


Let’s be clear here – even without Trump’s exorbitant travel budget to dwarf the trans integration price, the Department of Defense throws away $8 million dollars every hour. It is an incredibly wasteful department that Trump wants to give more money to, not less.


So if Trump wants to say that trans Americans are barred from the military because he doesn’t agree with their choices, or because of pressure from Republicans, then we are at least fighting him on a basis of honesty – but if he wants to hide behind the false “cost” line, he is not only making a horrific decision, but a cowardly one.

Donald Trump is a draft dodger who called John McCain a coward for being caught while at war (McCain’s current controversy nonwithstanding) – he has absolutely no qualifications to be making any declarations at all about the military, or about those fit to serve in it.

Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at