Why are we moving backwards?

Shane Ortega, first out trans soldier to serve in the U.S. military Source: Twitter
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is banning transgender individuals from serving in the military “in any capacity” — a surprise announcement that drew condemnation from LGBTQ groups. Retired Army Sgt. Shane Ortega — the first out trans soldier to serve in the U.S. military — pulled no punches in criticizing the commander in chief.
Trump is a man who is literally a war-dodger, who comes from a life of privilege and silver spoon, who has no connection to reality whatsoever,” Ortega said in a phone interview. “I don’t know how much more the American public needs to see that.”
In his tweets, the president cited “tremendous medical costs” that the government would incur by allowing transgender people to serve. The actual numbers, however, paint a different picture.
The Pentagon estimates that the cost would be between $2 [million] to $8 million,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Every weekend [Trump’s] trip to Mar-a-Lago costs $2 million.”
To contextualize this, here are a few things that cost the U.S. military industrial complex even more money:
  • An unused, $25-million-plus Afghani military base the U.S. will probably demolish, which will cost another $5 million.
  • A $40 million unused and unfinished correctional facility in Iraq. As of 2013, the facility remained abandoned, and Iraq’s government stated that it had no plans to complete it.
  • Guantanamo Bay, which continues to indefinitely detain military prisoners at a price of about $2.7 million per detainee. More than $454 million is spent annually to keep the military prison open.
Read more about Ortega here and about the costs of the military industrial complexhere.
By Anthony Smith and Andrew Joyce

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