President Donald Trump’s tweets stating that transgender people will be banned from United States military service took a lot of people by surprise Wednesday morning.
Log Cabin Republican President Gregory Angelo had a lot of questions about what this implies for LGBT people, and Caitlyn Jenner tweeted at the president, “There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the US military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?”
Jenner and Angelo used the figure 15,000 to represent the number of transgender Americans serving, among a total of approximately 1.3 million serving. But is it accurate, Mike Opelka wondered on Wednesday’s “Pure Opelka.” Chris Bucher of The Heavy compiled some wildly conflicting statistics, which might be the source of the confusion – yet none of the numbers in his story total 15,000.
The number 15,000 appears repeatedly on online news and opinion sites, from Al Jazeera to Newsweek to Time. The Department of Defense, however, used figures from a study by the RAND Corporation when drafting their Transgender Service Member Policy. Their estimates are between 4,000 and 6,000, which means transgender people comprise only 0.1-0.5 percent those serving.