No ban of transgender troops; support them

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No ban of transgender troops; support them

President Donald Trump would like to keep transgender people from enlisting in the military, but other people believe they should be allowed to serve.

President Donald Trump would like to keep transgender people from enlisting in the military, but other people believe they should be allowed to serve.

Photo by Ted Eytan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump would like to keep transgender people from enlisting in the military, but other people believe they should be allowed to serve.

Photo by Ted Eytan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Ted Eytan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump would like to keep transgender people from enlisting in the military, but other people believe they should be allowed to serve.

Emily Bailey, Reporter

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My friend Eli enlisted in the military two years ago, and is doing well in his platoon; he is even outperforming some of his colleagues in physical training and riflery.

Eli is transgender, which means he was born with female anatomy, but has transitioned to living as a man. He joined the military because he wishes to fight for this country and preserve its freedoms.

But if President Donald Trump has his way, Eli and other transgender servicepeople will no longer be welcome in the military.

Trump has announced that transgender individuals cannot serve in “any capacity” because of possible harm to military readiness and healthcare costs. He directed the Department of Defense to establish this ban, but it is working its way through the court system.

I believe the president’s effort to ban transgender servicepeople is discriminatory.

In addition, it seems that allowing transgender people to serve has minimal effects on the economy and military readiness, which are Trump’s concerns.

According to the RAND Corporation—a non-profit policy think tank whose research is sponsored primarily by federal, state and local government agencies, including the DOD—only 0.0015 percent of the total number of years one person serves is affected by allowing transgender individuals to serve. Furthermore, DOD spending on healthcare costs will only rise 0.14 percent above the current level while transgender individuals serve.

In fact, according to the Defense Health Agency, the DOD spent 5.2 times more on Viagra for those serving than on transgender healthcare—$51.6 million compared with $8 million.

I believe in civil rights, and I trust the evidence that shows the low impact transgender people have on military readiness.

If we are trying to increase readiness, we should expand our military, not whittle it down one transgender volunteer at a time. Allowing openly transgender individuals to enlist has only increased the size of the military, thus better preparing it.

This campus has a thriving LGBTQ community, as well as many students who are veterans, who are interested in joining the military or who have already enlisted. We should stand up for our fellow students and community members.

We should stand up for Eli and for the many other transgender people just as willing to fight and die for this country as anyone else.

Emily Bailey is a first-year history student.

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