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Donald Trump dodges trans military question as White House confirms no plans to overturn ban

The US president was pressed on his controversial policy, but claimed he was hard of hearing – ran out of cotton buds, hun?

2020-08-05

Donald Trump has no plans to overturn his trans military ban after appearing to dodge a question on the subject.

On Monday (3 August), the US President was asked by a reporter if he would reconsider his controversial three-year-old policy.

Pushed on the matter, while standing next to the admittedly noisy engines of Marine One, Trump replied, “I can’t hear you.”

When the reporter from the Washington Blade repeated himself, the former reality TV host claimed he was once again hard of hearing. 

“I can’t hear a word you’re saying,” he said.

Hours later, White House Deputy Secretary Judd Deere reiterated, via email, that no changes were being made to the ban. 

“Current policy regarding transgender military service was developed in consultation with senior military officials, medical experts and combat veterans who determined that the previous policy eroded military readiness and unit cohesion.

“The White House has no policy announcements at this time,” Deere added.

In 2017, Trump sparked outrage when he announced that he was barring transgender people from serving in the military on account of the “tremendous medical costs” and the “disruption that transgender” would entail.

On 22 January 2019, the Supreme Court greenlit his request, meaning potential recruits who have transitioned and have a history of gender dysphoria can be refused. 

The ruling rolled back Obama-era action that allowed trans men and women to serve openly and to receive transition-related medical care while enlisted.

Current policy enables service members who received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria prior to April 2019 to continue to serve in their preferred gender.

Any serving troops diagnosed after that date must do so according to their sex as assigned at birth.

Meanwhile, prospective recruits who have received a gender dysphoria diagnosis are banned from enlisting or enrolling in military academies.

Hopes that Trump, 74, might do a U-turn were raised in the wake of the recent Bostock v. Clayton County case, in which the Supreme Court ruled that employment discrimination against LGBTQ is sex discrimination. 

Two weeks ago, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a rule allowing homeless shelters to house trans people according to their birth-assigned sex.