When Donald Trump tweeted a ban on transgender people serving openly in the military this week, he cited “the tremendous medical costs” of treating transgender troops as a reason for excluding them from the ranks. A writer for the Washington Post quickly surfaced an old report that the military spends $84 million a year on Viagra, Cialis, and other erectile dysfunction medication to service members and retirees. The Post opened a floodgate: Writers and social-media gadflies critical of Trump’s half-baked transgender tweets pounced on the Department of Defense’s “male enhancement” expenditures to highlight a double standard. This involved a lot of well-intentioned commenters making a lot of easy E.D. jokes.
A recent study by RAND Corp. found that the military's treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression was impacted by an individual’s pay grade, with higher ranking personnel receiving greater access to medication and treatment than those at the lowest ranks.