Quinnipiac University released poll results last Thursday that found that 68% of American voters believe that transgender people should be allowed to serve openly in the military. That includes 55% of voters in military households and 72% of independent voters. 60% of Republicans oppose transgender service, but "every other party, gender, education, age or racial group” backs it by a margin of 22 percent or more."
We’ve long known that transgender rights are a winning issue for Democrats. Still, the margins in these polls surprised me given the overall lack of public dialogue about trans service. Why did so many Americans embrace trans troops so quickly? My guess: Most Americans assumed (incorrectly) that the 2010 repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell opened the military to transgender individuals in addition gay people. Thus, to them, the ability of LGBTQ people to serve openly and honorably is likely a settled issue. We already had a national debate on the matter and came to the conclusion that courageous individuals who wish to defend their country should not be disqualified because of their identity. That was seven years ago. Isn’t it time to move on?
Another factor at play here could be the fact that about 15,000 openly trans troops are already serving openly in the military. Trump’s ban, if implemented, would require an exorbitantly costly witch hunt to identify and discharge these troops, who had previously been assured that they could stop concealing their identity. Excluding trans people from enrolling in the military is cruel enough, but purging thousands of already-serving troops would be downright monstrous. America has never invited a new class of people to join its armed forces only to backtrack and throw them out. Trump’s ban would represent an unprecedented attack on our men and women in uniform.
--Mark Joseph Stern, Slate
No group has ever been accepted into the military and later purged.