A retired army general has called a ban on trans people serving in the US military ‘a mistake’.
Four-star army general Stanley McChrystal said that a ban would risk losing talent and send a negative message.
McChrystal was referring to the trans military ban proposed by US President Donald Trump.
‘We live in a country now where only around 30% of young people qualify to enlist in the military, that’s only 70% [who] for legal, physical, other reasons, cannot,’ McChrystal said.
‘If we have people who want to serve, if they have the desire and capacity to serve, I think it’s a mistake to lose that talent.’
‘A negative message to send’
McChrystal added: ‘I also think it’s a mistake to send any message that says somebody with those attributes, the willingness and the capability to serve, not being welcome, is a negative message to send.’
He also made comparisons with past instances in which officials had expressed concern that females would be unable to operate effectively in combat roles in the military. This has now been widely disproved.
McChrystal made the comments on The Axe Files, a podcast series produced in a coalition between the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
He was responding to a question by host David Axelrod, a former political strategist who served in the Obama administration, about the US Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily enforce the ban on trans troops until the final decision is made.
McChrystal formerly led the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan during the Obama administration.
He retired from the US military in 2010 after 34 years of service, following a scandal surrounding disparaging comments his aides made to a Rolling Stone journalist about then-President Obama.
The ban on trans people serving in the US military has been an ongoing saga since mid-2017.
Trump surprised many senior military figures by tweeting ‘the government will not allow or accept Transgender in any capacity in the U.S. military’ in July last year.
Trump has recently adopted a more watered-down version of the ban, which would allow trans people, intersex people and people with gender dysphoria to serve in the military if they do not seek medical treatment during their service.
The ban has been met with widespread condemnation from equal rights groups, and a number of military figures and politicians have expressed concern.