In a series of tweets, trump announced today that Transgender People will not be allowed to serve "in any capacity in the U.S. Military." His decision overturns the 2016 ruling from former Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter, who lifted the ban on transgender military service under the Obama administration. Trump claims that the reasoning behind his decision stemmed from the military not being able to afford transgender medical bills.

Is cost really the issue?

It's unlikely.

It seems as if his decision is based on his unwillingness to provide transgender individuals with equal opportunity (military, bathrooms, etc.), and even more so, his determination to reverse Obama-era protections. By announcing his decision to deny transgender individuals from serving in the armed forces, Trump disrespects the thousands of trans people who currently put their lives on the line to serve.

A 2016 RAND study on military service by transgender individuals estimates that there are 2,450 transgender people on active duty and 1,510 in reserve. Out of those on active duty, the study estimates that only 29–129 service members would seek any type of gender transition–related care in a given year.

To give those numbers monetary value, the study estimates that the Medical Costs of transgender military personnel would amount to about "0.005–0.017% of $49.3 billion in actual expenditures for the FY 2014 Unified Medical Program."

We're reversing progress

As mentioned earlier in this article, it was only last year that transgender individuals were granted the right to serve openly here in America.

Trump's decision sets us behind the 18 existing countries that allow transgender military members to serve openly. These countries include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

It is shameful that our country would ban individuals based on their gender identity. If someone is willing to give up their life in order to serve their country, we should give those people the same amount of respect that we give any other member of the military.

Numbers and datasets aside, we pay a much steeper price when we deny rights to those who are clearly qualified for the job. What do you value more? A small amount of money or respect and equality?