A transgender U.S. Army captain on Wednesday warned that the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Trump’s ban could have a “long-term impact” on the military as a whole, saying it would limit the pool of qualified, and capable soldiers who are willing to serve their country.
“I think what people should be more concerned about is the long-term impact to our United States military, we should be the most lethal fighting force in the world and we can’t do that if we’re not drawing from the pool of all of those who are qualified, capable and willing to serve,” Jennifer Peace, who has served in U.S. military for more than 13 years, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.”
“I consider myself among that and many of my peers who happen to be transgender,” Peace continued, adding that the only thing that the military should be discriminating against is “performance and potential.”
The Army captain said that transgender service members aren’t asking for any special treatment whatsoever, “just the opportunity to meet the standard.”
Peace, who was outed in 2015 while she was transitioning, also said that Trump’s new policy demonstrates an “unspoken level of discrimination” from the administration and among military leaders, such as Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shananhan.
“There’s this unspoken level of discrimination, especially when you have the Secretary of Defense, the president and the Secretary of State come out and say ‘trans people shouldn’t be allowed to serve,’ ” she said.
She said this kind of rhetoric could hurt the future careers of transgender service members, impacting promotions and other opportunities for advancement.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday took a step toward reviving Trump’s efforts to reverse President Obama’s 2016 policy, allowing transgender Americans to openly serve in the U.S. military. The move could potentially impact at least 15,000 transgender service members.
The high court, in a 5-4 decision, granted the Trump administration the ability to temporarily enforce restrictions on transgender people serving in the military. But, since one injunction still remains in place, the policy has yet to go into effect.
Trump first announced the ban on transgender service members last year, citing “the tremendous medical costs and disruption” that would be caused by transgender service members.
But some reports have found that the military spends far more on erectile dysfunction prescriptions than transgender health care.
In 2016, The RAND Corporation released a report estimating that the cost for transition-related medical care for transgender troops ranges from $2.4 million to $8.4 million per year.
According to the Military Times, the military spends a total of $84.24 million on erectile dysfunction prescriptions and $41.6 million of that is spent on Viagra alone.
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