In an unexpected move Wednesday morning, on the 69th anniversary of President Harry Truman’s order to desegregate the armed forces, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had decided to bar transgender Americans from serving in uniform.
Trump’s latest edict surprised the national security establishment, short-circuiting a review of the current transgender policy recently ordered by Defense Secretary James Mattis and coming before the Pentagon’s personnel officials even had confirmation hearings, let alone started their jobs. The way the announcement was made begged the question of whether Trump discussed this issue with the military’s leadership at all. Worse though, on its merits, the order contradicts decades of military leadership on equal opportunity and flies in the face of empirical research showing transgender troops don’t hurt readiness. Quite the contrary: Wednesday’s move will only make it harder to maintain readiness, by slightly shrinking the pool of eligible recruits, removing current service members, and signaling to many others that today’s military is not the kind of employer they want to work for.
Read the full article in Slate.