President Donald Trump, on July 26, announced a ban on transgender individuals in the militaryvia social media.
This move is a reversal of the Obama administration decision that would have let transgender recruits serve.
On Twitter, Trump stated that the military cannot accept the burden of higher medical costs and "disruption" that transgender troops would require.
He tweeted, ""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 U.S. Military. 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."
Pro-LGBT organizations and individuals responded swiftly. GLAAD President/CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a press release, "President Trump today issued a direct attack on transgender Americans, and his administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our governmenteven if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation."
TheWrap.com noted that Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin responded on Twitter, "I know transgender service members and vets who have done more to serve their country than @realdonaldtrump has in his entire life." U.S. sen. Jeanne Shaheen tweeted, "Thousands of transgender service members defend our country. They're patriots & should be applauded not discriminated against by Pres Trump."
OutServe-SLDN issued a release saying, "In his latest example of pseudo-policy-by-twitter, Donald Trump has shown blatant disregard for transgender service members who have been serving openly since October 2016. The disruptive burden to the military comes from indecision in a White House which itself is not focused on victory if it's targeting service members. The readiness, effectiveness, and lethality of the Armed Services comes from the commitment of our troopsnot the vagaries and bigotry of exclusionary policies.
National LGBTQ Task Force Advocacy & Action organizer Camden Hargrove stated, "As a Black transgender man who considered military service, Trump's tweets appalled and astonished me. There is no way for me to not draw parallels between racial segregation in the military and this discrimination against transgender service members."
"This is a horrifying, vicious attack on thousands of actively serving troops in the military who happen to be transgender," said American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack in a separate release. "Transgender service members are risking their lives around the world, and President Trump literally just put a target on their backs, threatening to ruin their careers and kick them out of the military. This is unconscionable, and we are beyond outraged."
"We are committed to transgender service members. We are going to fight for them as hard as they are fighting for the country. And we're going to start by taking the fight to Donald Trump in the Federal Court."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "On the 69th anniversary of President Truman's order to integrate the military, President Trump has come down on the wrong side of history. He is choosing to divide us rather than unite us. Brave Americans who seek to selflessly serve this country in uniform should have the opportunity to answer the call to service, regardless of their identity. The Trump administration's decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. armed forces is another anachronistic, divisive and discriminatory policy that does nothing to enhance the safety and security of the country."
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) has stated, "The bedrock principle of our all-volunteer military is to evaluate every individual on the basis of their willingness and ability to serve. The president's announcement this morning banning transgender individuals from serving our military ironically falls on the 69th anniversary of President Harry Truman signing an executive order to desegregate the military. Instead of honoring the progress we have made on this historic day, the President chose to put our military, once again, in the middle of a discriminatory policy."
Congressman Bill Foster (D-Illinois) sent out his own statement saying, "During his campaign, the President promised he would do everything to protect LGBTQ communities. It is a shame that he has broken this promise and now singles out members of this community as second-class citizens."
Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-Illinois) said, "Any American who stands up and volunteers to serve this great nation deserves our respect.
"The decision by President Trump to stop allowing trans* individuals to serve in our Armed Forces is disgusting, stupid and runs counter to our American values. I want to say that I'm shocked, but after House Republicans tried to write hate into this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I'm not surprised."
Another member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois), stated, "With at least 6,000 transgender active duty service members and reservists, this decision is just as alienating as it is cruel and unnecessary. Requiring transgender service members to suppress their authentic selves undermines their tremendous sacrifices and contributions. We cannot and will not stand by as the President seeks to prioritize discrimination and bigotry over the safety our nation."
And apparently it's not just Democrats who have trouble with Trump's ban. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) criticized the president's tweets as "unclear," adding "The President's tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter." McCain added that the Department of Defense "has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving."
Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin wrote in a separate release, "The President is creating a worse version of 'don't ask, don't tell.' As we know from the sad history of that discredited policy, discrimination harms military readiness. This is a shocking and ignorant attack on our military and on transgender troops who have been serving honorably and effectively for the past year.
ACLU of Illinois LGBT & HIV Project Director John Knight said, "This craven act of discrimination is beneath the dignity of the United States and our military. Thousands of transgender service members have risked their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan (among other places) and deserve better than a morning tweet dismissing that valuable service as unwanted and unappreciated."
"As former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen stated yesterday, their service must be respected. The Rand Corporation has estimated that the cost of medical care for transgender troops is approximately one one-hundredth of one percent of the military annual health care budget, or at most, $8.4 million per year. To claim otherwise is to lie about the data."
Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's LGBT & HIV Project, stated, "This is an outrageous and desperate action. The thousands of transgender service members serving on the front lines for this country deserve better than a commander-in-chief who rejects their basic humanity."
National Black Justice Coalition CEO Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks said, "This position is beyond disgraceful and spits in the faces of the more than 15,000 transgender people currently serving honorably and those that have previously served in our nation's armed forces."
American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) also conveyed its disappointment with Trump's tweets. A statement read, in part, "Transgender members are already and have always been part of some of our most combat ready units without difficulty for decades and will continue to be in the future. As long as any soldier, sailor, marine, airman or coast guards man has the physical and mental ability, they must be allowed to serve in the defense of our country."
David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said, "Thousands upon thousands of transgender people have served and are serving this country with honor and courage. But while these brave men and women risk their lives for all of us, in every corner of the world, 24 hours a day, President Trump tweets out a disgraceful, discriminatory policybacked by the country's most extreme anti-LGBT hate groupsthat will do nothing to make anyone safer. This policy only serves to throw fuel on the fire of hatred and fear, making an already-vulnerable population even more vulnerable. The Southern Poverty Law Center stands with all transgender and gender-nonconforming Americans, whether civilian or military. Neither Trump nor his childish tweets can stop our march toward dignity and equality."
And, yes, Hollywood is responding as well. Deadline reported that actor George Takei tweeted, "Trump is banning all transgender [individuals] from the military. To those who believed Trump would be a friend to LGBTs, time to admit you were conned." The Daily Show posted, "Guess the "T" is silent?" and Andy Cohen tweeted (presumably to Trump), "Are you TRYING to be an asshole?"
Even registered Republican Caitlyn Jenner hit back. The transgender personality tweeted, "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?"
And famed transgender whistleblower Chelsea Manning has posted her own opinion of the development. On Twitter, Manning said, "So, biggest baddest most $$ military on earth cries about a few trans people but funds the F-35? Sounds like cowardice #WeGotThis."
TheWrap's article is at TheWrap.com/twitter-reacts-to-trumps-transgender-military-ban-this-is-discriminatory/ . Deadline's piece is at deadline.com/2017/07/hollywood-reacts-trump-transgender-military-ban-reaction-1202136180/ .
Statement from the American Veterans for Equal Rights:
Atlanta, GA (JUL 26, 2017) — American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) is astonished by President Trump's statements this morning prohibiting transgender Americans from serving our country in the US military. On the very anniversary, July 26, 1948, that President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to end racial segregation in our US military, President Donald J. Trump issues tweets to bar transgender service members from serving in our same US armed forces. Such an incredible twist of fate in history! One opens doors to liberty. One slams them shut.
"The President's unilateral action concerning transgender service members is insulting to some of our most capable service members and disrespectful to the leadership of our military. Without full consultation, a President who never served our country has taken an action that discriminates without factual foundation. Transgender members are already and have always been part of some of our most combat ready units without difficulty for decades and will continue to be in the future. As long as any soldier, sailor, marine, airman or coast guards man has the physical and mental ability, they must be allowed to serve in the defense of our country."
Current policies require that transgender recruits must complete gender transition before they can enter the military. Mr. Trump is simply denying entry into the military to capable male and female volunteers no different from any other man or woman. The citizens of the United States require a military governed by carefully considered policies and not by early morning tweet storms from a President who neither understands the current policy nor cares about the human cost of defending our nation's liberty. We defend transgender service members right to serve!