President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the United States military "in any capacity."
Trump, who campaigned as an ally of the LGBT community, took to Twitter early Wednesday to say that the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."
But a study from the research think tank RAND estimates there are as many as 6,630 transgender individuals in the United States military, and that the cost for gender transition services would be between $2.4 and $8.4 million a year—which, as Jared Keller pointed out on Twitter this morning, is about 10 times less than the Department of Defense spends on erectile dysfunction drugs.
A Trump administration official told Axios' Jonathan Swan that the reasoning behind the decision was more political than economic.
The Obama administration announced last year that transgender individuals would be able to serve openly in the military. And the full policy of admitting transgender soldiers and providing medical support for transitions would have begun on July 1st, 2017. But in June, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis delayed the implementation of the plan in order to review whether it would hurt the "readiness or lethality" of American troops.