Americans are divided on many issues, from admission of refugees to Obamacare. But there’s at least one hot-button issue they’re in wide agreement on: President Donald Trump shouldn’t ban transgender people from the US military.
According to a new poll by Quinnipiac University, 68 percent of US voters say trans people should be allowed to serve in the military. Only 27 percent disagree. (The rest didn’t answer or didn’t know.)
This goes with a separate poll by Reuters and Ipsos from last week, which found that 58 percent of US adults agree trans people should be allowed to serve in the military, while 27 percent disagreed.
Trump announced that he would ban trans people from the military last week in a series of tweets. He argued, “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming … victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
A 2016 review of the research by the RAND Corporation, however, found that letting trans people into the military would have little to no effect on either combat readiness or the military’s budget. It pointed out that 18 other countries — including Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom — allow transgender people to serve openly in the military with “little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.”
It remains unclear how or if Trump’s ban will actually be implemented. A day after Trump announced he planned to bring back the ban (which the Obama administration moved to repeal), the US Joint Chiefs of Staff reportedly told the military to wait until it receives official guidance from the president — instead of just a few tweets — before it changes the policy. So far, Trump has not actually sent that guidance.
For more on Trump’s trans military service ban, read Vox’s explainer.