To the surprise of the Pentagon, President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to join the military.
The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, praised the president’s decision as a cost-saving measure for the military. The president didn't cite any numbers for the claim that it cost too much to meet the medical needs of transgender individuals.
Last year, a study that estimated the additional cost of services for the military’s transgender population is between $2.5 million and $8 million.
"A drop in the bucket," said Abby Jensen, the general counsel for the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance. Jensen said transgender soldiers are here to stay.
She cited a study that found that “20 percent of transgender people enlist in the military, which is basically three times the rate for the general population. So we are very much a part of the military and have been for decades.”
Jensen said groups around the country are already organizing to launch a legal challenge to the president's decision.
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
CORRECTION: The broadcast version of this story misidentified and misgendered Abby Jensen. She is the general counsel for the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance. Arizona Public Media deeply regrets the error.