Veterans Affairs Secretary ‘was not aware’ that Trump was banning trans troops
The US Veterans Affairs Secretary was unaware that President Trump was to announce that transgender people would be banned from military service.
In June of last year, President Obama asked the Pentagon to lift its long-held ban on transgender soldiers serving openly in the military.
The Department of Defense was given until July 1 of this year to implement the policy, with LGBT advocates hopeful that transgender soldiers would finally be able to serve openly.
The decision was delayed by Trump’s Defence Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis – and the President confirmed yesterday that he would reverse the decision put the ban back in place.
Politico reports that VA Secretary David Shulkin “was not aware” of the impending announcement by President Trump.
But he also spoke to 77WABC to say: “When you personalize care, there are added costs.”
“Transgender veterans do require staff that are trained to be able to deal with their situation appropriately so that they can get the care that they want with the dignity and the outcomes that they deserve,” he said.
But he added that he doesn’t see the change as a “major complication for us.”
“I think that it’s important that veterans know that the VA is a safe place to get their care,” he added
“We value and respect the dignity of all our veterans.”
“Once a person signs up to defend our country, they have to know that the VA is there and committed to them through the end of their life,” he continued.
Despite the assertion that it would cost the military too much to implement a transgender-inclusive policy, the Department of Defense spent five times more on Viagra in 2014 than it would on care for transgender troops.
Out trans former Navy SEAL Kristin Beck challenged President Trump to tell her to her face that she is “not worthy” after he announced the policy.
She also noted the negligible cost of providing the healthcare to trans troops compared to other military costs.
According to reports, the Pentagon was unaware that Trump was about to announce the rolling back of the Obama-era change.
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It is not the first time Trump has gone out of his way to reverse a decision on LGBT rights made by Obama.
The GOP leader has already scrapped protections for transgender school kids, ceased government opposition to state-level anti-LGBT laws, and sought to slash HIV aid funding.
The decisions sour Trump’s previous claims during his election campaign to be a “friend” of LGBT people.
In a speech directly after the Orlando massacre he had claimed: “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the L-G-B-T community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words.”
He also won endless praise from gay Republicans for waving a Pride flag on stage, while making no pledges on LGBT rights.