Here's What The Most Experienced Generals Have To Say About Trump's Transgender Military Ban

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Just days after President Trump's sudden announcement on Twitter, 56 retired generals and admirals are opposing Trump's transgender military ban, arguing that it would "degrade readiness even more than the failed 'don't ask, don't tell' policy." Trump announced unexpected ban last Wednesday, justifying the decision by insisting that the armed forces can't be "burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

The Palm Center, an organization dedicated to conducting research on sexual minorities, released the statement put out by over four dozen veterans.

The Commander in Chief has tweeted a total ban of honorably serving transgender troops. This proposed ban, if implemented, would cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy. As a result, the proposed ban would degrade readiness even more than the failed ‘don't ask, don't tell’ policy. Patriotic transgender Americans who are serving—and who want to serve—must not be dismissed, deprived of medically necessary health care, or forced to compromise their integrity or hide their identity.

The statement proceeds to challenge the president's claim that transgender servicemembers would present a heavy financial burden on the military. " The RAND Corporation, as well as research in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the financial cost of providing health care to transgender troops would be, at most, $8.4 million per year," it reads. "This amounts to one one-hundredth of one percent of the military's annual health care budget."

Soon after the president's announcement of the ban, multiple news outlets pointed out that the military spending on Viagra is five times as high as what it spends on medical care for transgender soldiers. According to the Military Times, the Department of Defense spends an estimated $41.6 million annually on Viagra; it spends roughly $84 million annually on erectile dysfunction care in general — 10 times the amount spend on transition-related healthcare for transgender members of the military.

The statement added that the presence of transgender soldiers in militaries around the world disproves the notion that transgender servicemembers would cause distraction among others in the U.S. armed forces. “As for ostensible disruptions, transgender troops have been serving honorably and openly for the past year, and have been widely praised by commanders,” it reads. “Eighteen foreign nations, including the UK and Israel, allow transgender troops to serve, and none has reported any detriment to readiness.”