/ Modified jul 27, 2017 1:34 p.m.

Trump Tweets Transgender Ban; Group Says Challenge in the Works

Southern Arizona rights nonprofit says groups already organizing against the ban.

Military branch Bell seals Seals representing each branch of the armed services
Zac Ziegler

To the surprise of the Pentagon, President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to join the military.

The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, praised the president’s decision as a cost-saving measure for the military. The president didn't cite any numbers for the claim that it cost too much to meet the medical needs of transgender individuals.

Last year, a study that estimated the additional cost of services for the military’s transgender population is between $2.5 million and $8 million.

"A drop in the bucket," said Abby Jensen, the general counsel for the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance. Jensen said transgender soldiers are here to stay.

She cited a study that found that “20 percent of transgender people enlist in the military, which is basically three times the rate for the general population. So we are very much a part of the military and have been for decades.”

Jensen said groups around the country are already organizing to launch a legal challenge to the president's decision.

CORRECTION: The broadcast version of this story misidentified and misgendered Abby Jensen. She is the general counsel for the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance. Arizona Public Media deeply regrets the error.

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