The US House of Representatives on Thursday narrowly rejected an attempt to undermine rules allowing transgender people to serve in the US military. The measure, defeated in a 214 to 209 vote, would have denied transgender service members certain medical care required for gender transition, such as prescription drugs and surgeries.
The vote on the amendment, which appeared to have significant Republican support, came after a heated afternoon debate.
Republicans have argued the cost of gender-transition treatment is exorbitantly expensive, though the stance encompasses a larger effort by conservatives to resist transgender military integration by claiming it undermines troop readiness.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, said before the vote that military applicants need to "figure out if you're man or woman before you join." The congressman added that if people join the military and then transition to another gender while enlisted, "it will cost the government money, and taxpayers in the country are not going to foot the bill for it."
"Let's make America great again," he concluded.
Top Democrats and LGBT leaders say claims of financial frugality are a ruse designed to mask the right’s larger cultural effort to impede transgender people from serving and marginalize LGBT people in society.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland challenged the idea that the push was about spending or military readiness. "This amendment is not about defense,” he said. “It has one purpose and one purpose only: to politically denigrate some of our fellow citizens.”
The debate centered around an amendment titled “Prohibition of Department of Defense Medical Treatment Related to Gender Transition” to a military funding bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. Read more via Buzzfeed