US President Donald Trump triggered massive outrage on Wednesday (26 July) after he announced on Twitter that he would ban transgender people from military service. In a series of tweets, Trump said he made the decision after consulting "my generals and military experts."
"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military," Trump tweeted.
"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you".
The sudden announcement was made while Defence Secretary James Mattis is out of Washington on vacation for the week. The decision, if implemented, would reverse a policy approved by the Defence Department under his predecessor Barack Obama's administration last year that allowed transgender people to serve openly in the military.
Trump's tweets were met with a swift and furious backlash from both Democrats and Republicans, civil liberties advocates, celebrities, Silicon Valley giants and people on social media. The announcement has also sparked fierce protests across the country.
Many on Twitter decried the president's decision as "disgusting" saying people should be grateful "to anybody who wants to serve".
Democratic Representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona, an Iraq War veteran, furiously criticised the president as an "impotent leader" who will "never understand complex military needs" because he "doesn't have the experience or intellectual capacity to learn".
"Banning any qualified person from serving their country because of who they are is both discriminatory and bad national security policy," Gallego wrote in a series of tweets. "He's using fear of trans community to score political points."
Others denounced Trump as a "draft dodger" and questioned him about his own deferments from the military draft. During the Vietnam War, Trump received five deferments from the military draft - four due to educational purposes and one for having a bad foot.
In the wake of Trump's announcement, his deferment documents have gone viral on social media as well.
British-Australian actor Harry Cook tweeted: "Transgender ppl show more courage in a DAY than you in your entire life you fat orange clown. How many times have you served again? #Coward".
"Hating someone for being transgender is more of a you problem. Not a transgender problem. #TransRightsAreHumanRights," YouTube star Adelaine Morin tweeted.
Many people also drew comparisons between the cost of transition-related care to the military with the cost of his trips to Mar-A-Lago and the cost of protecting first lady Melania Trump and the Trumps' youngest son, Barron, at Trump Tower in New York over the past few months.