/ Modified jul 27, 2017 1:34 p.m.

Trump Tweets Transgender Ban; Group Says Challenge in the Works

Southern Arizona rights nonprofit says groups already organizing against the ban.

Military branch Bell seals Seals representing each branch of the armed services (PHOTO: Zac Ziegler)

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.


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.

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