A Blow to Transgender Rights

NDSU students share how they feel about the reinstated ban on transgender people enlisting in the U.S. military

At Pride Alliance’s fundraising event, students discussed the most recent political move.

As President Donald Trump continues to sit in Office, he’s working toward big changes.

One of these is revoking the right for American citizens who identify as transgender, or those who do not align their gender identity with what was assigned at birth, to enlist in the military.

That being said, those who are already enlisted don’t know what this means for them. Some fear their medical needs will no longer be covered by government health care; others wonder if a military career is in their future at all.

While this is a big shift, what do students at North Dakota State think about all of this?

Speaking with members of Pride Alliance, NDSU’s campus organization that focuses on equality across gender identities and sexual orientation, shed some light on the subject.

“I think it’s (the transgender ban) absolutely ridiculous,”

John Mueller, Pride Alliance treasurer

William Fleck, student senator for the College of Science and Math and who also serves on the executive board of a transgender advocacy organization, was in attendance at the Pride Alliance meeting Jan. 24 and was willing to share his point of view.

“Even when their country refuses to protect them in housing and workplaces, they (transgender people) still choose to put their lives on the line to protect us,” Fleck said.

One point of contention within the discussion was how much money goes into providing medical care for people who are transgender versus other treatment, like providing erectile dysfunction medication.

“In 2015, the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that, at most, transition related expenses would cost the Department of Defense between $4.2 million to $5.6 million,” Fleck said.

This is in contrast to the “… tens of millions of dollars to use for erectile dysfunction medications,” according to Fleck. Around $84 million is spent annually on erectile dysfunction medication, according to the Military Times.

While the ban is certainly a setback for some, particularly those young transgender people who were looking into a military career, the door has not yet been completely shut.

“In the meantime, they’re banned from beginning service, not continuing,” Zach Tarble, president of Pride Alliance, said.

Other individuals in attendance had more blunt opinions on the subject.

“I think it’s (the transgender ban) absolutely ridiculous. I am one for equality. I think transgender people should be able to be in the military. I think it’s stupid,” John Mueller, treasurer of Pride Alliance, said.

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