Luckily, some people in Congress know actual patriots when they see them. As President Trump continues his efforts to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S military, at least four Democrats are bringing trans service members to No. 45’s State of the Union address tonight, Tuesday, February 5.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York invited Navy Lieutenant Commander Blake Dremann, Representative Jackie Speier of California invited Air Force Staff Sergeant Logan Ireland, Representative Donald McEachin of Virginia invited Navy Petty Officer Second Class Megan Winters, and Representative Chris Pappas of New Hampshire invited with Navy veteran Tavion Dignard, according to the Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson.Even better, Gillibrand will work to thwart the ban after the SOTU, too. “Any transgender American who meets the standards should be able to sign up to join our Armed Forces, and that’s why I’m going to introduce new legislation this week to protect current and future transgender service members,” she said in a statement. “I am proud to lead this fight and I urge all of my Senate colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation.”
Trump has been pushing to reinstate the ban since 2017, when he claimed that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” (Our esteemed leader seems to think “transgender” is a noun.)Statistics, however, show that the medical costs of trans-inclusive health care are hardly “tremendous” relative to the military’s yearly medical bill: A 2016 Rand Corporation review found that “active-component health care costs would increase by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, representing a 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase in active-component health care expenditures.”Once again, science trumps rhetoric.