President Donald Trump recently posted tweets clearly stating that the US military will now prohibit service of transgender individuals. Northeastern Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) faculty members Professor Suzanna Walters (Program Director WGSS & Professor of Sociology), Professor Moya Bailey (Assistant Professor of Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies & WGSS), and Professor Libby Adler (Professor of Law & WGSS) spoke with Northeastern News to dissect the implications of the tweets.
According to Professor Adler of the School of Law, ramifications of the tweets remain unclear. Simply put, it is too soon to ascertain whether the tweets of President Trump will bring about legal changes concerning military qualifications. Implications for thousands of ‘outed’ transgender individuals currently serving in the military remain uncertain.
President Trump’s main argument against the service of transgender individuals in the military? Medical costs on taxpayers. He claims transgender individuals medical costs are disproportionally expensive. Professor Bailey challenged this, saying,“These surgeries are similar to surgeries that cis-gendered people have all the time that are begin understood as costly because a trans person is getting it… There’s a way that this care is being attacked and being seen as extraneous when they’re as medically necessary for trans people as a surgery for a cis person.” Professor Walters expounded further, “There’s just no evidence that medical expenses for trans people are greater than any other medical expenses… On the face of it, this is discriminatory and extremely regressive.”
Misguided and discriminatory as President Trump’s perspectives on transgender military service may be, will claims made over twitter be reflected in policy? Prof. Adler explained, “I’m not sure anyone knows yet, what the legal impacts of his tweets are… I’m not sure how you constitutionally contend with a tweet… My instinct is that if the DoD (Department of Defense) implements this, it’s a policy.”
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Professor Adler’s thoughts can also be seen in a piece on the subject in the LA Times.