In the last few hours, Donald trump has issued a series of tweets indicating that Transgender People will no longer be, "accepted or allowed," in the US military.

Policy Announcement via twitter

The full text of the tweets read, "After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.

Thank you."

Whilst not the first time that the President has announced policy changes over the social media network, this announcement had a more formal tone than those issued in the past and seems to be a definitive statement on policy rather than an off the cuff decision as past announcements seem to have been. There is no indication, however, of which generals or experts have been consulted.

Policy Shift

According to the New York Times, the unanticipated announcement reverses the gradual work of the previous administration to make the military a more welcoming institution for minority groups. Only last year, President Obama announced that transgender people were able to serve openly in the military, and under his administration all front line roles were opened to women for the first time.

Medical Costs?

The reasoning behind the decision seems tenuous at best, suggesting that this is a brazen appeal to Trump's most conservative supporters in the face of waning popularity. That the President's support is waning is a clear cause for concern, and not helped by persistent rumors that Trump himself finds being the President deeply unpleasant and has considered resigning.

This announcement is the latest in a series of transphobic policies to be brought in at the state and federal level in the USA, with clear links to the ongoing debate around bathroom use in various states. Trump's blatant disrespect for women and Transgender people has landed him in hot water with the left in the past; only a few days before the election he decried Clinton's merit based on the notion that "a woman could never lead the military." However, this type of rhetoric seems to go down well with some of his most right wing support, from where the core of his surviving base seems to be drawn.

Beyond the impact for Trump's presidency though, what remains to be seen is the impact that this slow and steady chipping away of rights will have on the transgender community in the US and worldwide. What was once a beacon of freedom and hope in the Western world is quickly becoming a nightmare for the most marginalized.