On July 26, 2016, Donald #trump took to Twitter, often his most recognizable platform, to announce a ban on #Transgender soldiers serving in the military. Naturally, it is somewhat difficult to fit the details of such an announcement within the range of 140 characters. Instead, within the span of three tweets, each afforded the maximum space proffered, Trump said all he needed to say. To him, trans people are a burden. His specific reasons for the ban was something along the lines of “disruption” and “medical costs.” And yet those justifications do not prove themselves logistically.

Transgender people are not burdens or distractions

To be clear, the “medical costs” of transgender troops are not very burdensome at all.

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Noting that only around 2 percent of active trans services members will undergo medical transitioning and keep in mind that there is only a small number of active military personnel– somewhere between 1320 and 6630– 8.4 million dollars out of a total Defense Department expense of 50 billion dollars would go towards transition-related medical care. This is equal to approximately 0.017 percent of military funds.

Even assuming that all trans service members medically transition that would still only be a percentage of 0.56 of the total funding. In simpler terms, such “medical costs” are entirely a non-issue. In fact, the military spends five to ten times as much on Viagra as it would on any projected medical transition investments. This is not to say that the military should not be worried about improving problems such as erectile dysfunction, but in contrast, the reasoning behind financial budgeting that which directly targets transgender people seems hypocritical.

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There are an estimated 15, 000 trans folk in the military right now, and only 0.4 percent of the total population serve in the military in general. Presumably, most or perhaps all of these citizens who serve are highly essential or at the very least valuable laborers. It should go without saying that transgender military service is more helpful than not.

The “disruption” bit of Trump’s statement is similarly false. Trump supporters and sympathizers often cite trans people as a distraction on the foundation that they are unfit for duty based on medical, mental, or– in somewhat of a paradoxical fashion– discriminatory biases. Their understanding is that transgender people inherently have more medical and mental issues than that of cisgender people. And also those cis people who cannot handle working with trans people would be better off without them. First and foremost, there is an abundant amount of counseling required in order for a trans person to be allowed to medically transition, meaning that if anything the intersection of medical and mental entities for trans military personnel, would mean that those who do transition are more likely to be mentally healthy or stable.

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However, research shows that most trans people in the military are unlikely to medically transition.

Still, the presumption that trans people are by definition unfit for duty is prejudice in nature. Of course, there are trans people who probably have a medical or mental inhibition. But both trans and cis people might have medical or mental tribulations, and as hopefully mature adults, they themselves should be able to adjudge whether or not they are fit for service, or leastways somebody who works alongside them would be a better judge of that than someone who somehow avoided the military draft five times. Then, the notion that the ban would be good for accommodating cis people's comfortability and trans people’s safety only stands to emphasize the prejudice it is supposedly attempting to prevent, as the ban itself does. Why should trans people have to rely on the permission of probably transphobic cis people to determine their futures?

Transphobia in policy

This and all logical arguments aside, it is largely obvious that Trump’s ban in accordance with his obtuse disdain for the LGBTQIA+ community is a demonstration of transphobic policy rather than an appeal to strengthen U.S. security by methods that one can only categorize as being exclusionary. What's almost more ridiculous– but well within the expectations of a Trump presidency– is that despite indication (via tweet) that Trump consulted with the relevant military authorities about his decision, sometime after Trump’s most popular and recent series of tweets, Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley revealed that he only he only learned about the situation through the news. Around the same time, several military officers, both active and retired expressed disapproval about the ban, namely Coast Guard Chief Paul Zukunft, who swore he would not “break faith” with transgender military personally personnel, specifically all 13 openly trans members of the Coast Guard. It seems as time goes on, followers of the situation are becoming more and more aware either of how unlikely Trump's proposal is to be actualized, or how nonsensical and bigoted it is in the first place.

Can you ban imperialism?

However, this predicament gives leeway to a bigger conversation: imperialism in the military. It is a topic not often conversed about amongst liberals and the more likely conservatives. But many leftists took the ban as an opportunity to urge transgender people and others against the military. It should come as no surprise that the military and all presidents thus far– them being axiomatically commander-in-chiefs of the United States Armed Forces– serve to promote imperialism in the form of colonialism, policy, and mass murder abroad, that which Americans at home feed into by way of capitalist enterprises.

While Trump’s ban uses financial burden as a basis for the exclusion of trans people to serve in a position that offers one of the most suitable means to acquire education and healthcare amongst other things, others protest that their inclusion would only mean that more people are participating in a destructive system. Those that understand that, but with notably differing views, argue that the policy is still regressive, that America and Americans are ingrained to participate in such a system, and disallowing people the same rights as others to pursue opportunities for their own well-being would not necessarily bring the United States any closer to deconstructing imperialism because, at any rate, doing so does not the save the lives of those suffering from American imperialism abroad. In any logistical organization, the same amount of troops are being ordered to subject foreign entities to American destruction, whether they be trans or cis.

Certainly, this is a very dangerous rationalization of the whole affair. It comes close to arguing that that welfare of Americans is more important than that of those in foreign countries. On the other hand, making the opposite argument would be just as troublesome, suggesting that lives abroad matter more than the trans lives who may need to depend on a recognizably imperialist institution to preserve their own and their families’ lives. It is clearly a hard conversation to have, and it perhaps alludes to the seemingly hopeless hypothesis that it is impossible to fight transphobia and imperialism at the same time, or maybe just not at this moment.

The time may come when millions of Americans, both inside and out the military, become educated enough to learn about the imperialist nature of America so that they may actively disagree with it,– if that even is the outcome of that information– but that time is far off. Meanwhile, millions of Americans right now see the military as a way to adequately achieve their short or long-term goals. Ironically, these goals are many a time healthcare and education, two interests Trump is currently making a privilege more than a right. Therefore, maybe it is best to focus on the issues at hand– though naturally not all will agree, and for all one knows, perchance it is not the right decision. Regardless, at some point, many will have to become acquainted with the disappointment of having the knowledge to be angry but not the power to change anything.