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Trump goes forward with military ban of trans individuals
2017-08-23

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The Pentagon will have six months to put President Donald Trump's ban on transgender servicemen and women in the military in motion, according to a Huffington Post item that cites The Wall Street Journal.

The guidelines (expected to be sent to the Pentagon in days) would give Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis the authority ot remove transgender individuals currently serving in the military by considering if they can serve in war zones and take part in training.

Reportedly, the Pentagon will also be ordered to stop paying medical bills for transgender individuals.

Several pro-LGBT groups responded to this latest development. Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), said in a press release, "The President's willingness to attack his own troops is unprecedented and poses a serious threat to our nation's longstanding commitment to honor those who serve and to prioritize military readiness over politics. This ban needlessly takes aim at our courageous transgender servicemembers."

NCLR and the organization GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) filed a federal lawsuit challenging Trump's attempt to reinstate a transgender military ban.

Palm Center director Aaron Belkin said in a separate release, "It is unconscionable that the Commander-in-Chief would take aim at his own, loyally serving troops for political reasons at a time when the military needs to focus on real threats.

"Imposing one set of standards for transgender troops, and another set of standards for everyone else is a recipe for disruption, distraction and waste."

American Military Partner Association (AMPA) President Ashley Broadway-Mack stated, "Despite the overwhelming bipartisan condemnation of his reckless tweets, President Trump is still pushing forward with his vicious assault on transgender service members. His foolhardy assertion that transgender service members are not able to deploy is simply not rooted in fact."

The Huffington Post item is at www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/white-house-transgender-military-ban-forward_us_599e427be4b05710aa59b31d .

From press releases:

The American Military Partner Association:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ), the nation's largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families, strongly condemned new rules from the White House implementing President Donald Trump's vicious assault on transgender service members. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the new guidance will "allow Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to consider a service member's ability to deploy in deciding whether to kick them out of the military. The White House memo also directs the Pentagon to deny admittance to transgender individuals and to stop spending on medical treatment regimens for those currently serving, according to U.S. officials familiar with the document."

"Despite the overwhelming bipartisan condemnation of his reckless tweets, President Trump is still pushing forward with his vicious assault on transgender service members," said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. "His foolhardy assertion that transgender service members are not able to deploy is simply not rooted in fact. Transgender service members are just as deployable as any other service member. These brave men and women are already risking their lives for this country around the world. They have earned their right to appropriate medical care, and President Trump's attempt to rip that away is beyond unconscionable."

There has been overwhelming condemnation of President Trump's transgender military ban. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' condemned the ban, stating, "The President's mere announcement of a ban on transgender military service harms all Americans by sending a message that fosters and encourages prejudice, inconsistent with our core national values. If implemented, the ban would further harm Americans, and weaken our defense, by enshrining unequal treatment of Americans based on rank stereotype."

The far majority of Americans believe transgender people should be allowed to serve, and the bipartisan outrage over the President's ban has been swift and severe. Fifty-six retired generals and admirals warned that the ban, if implemented, would degrade military readiness. More than 50 House Armed Services, Judiciary, and LGBT Equality Caucus Democrats urged Secretary Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff not to comply with an unconstitutional ban. And Navy professors released a report indicating President Trump's reckless ban would cost the military more than $960 million — 100 times the estimated cost of trans healthcare.

Military commanders have already gone on the record as being opposed to this move. CNN has reported that Secretary Mattis worked against efforts to impose this policy via the National Defense Authorization Act. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Joseph Dunford, issued a public statement that indicated policy would not be implemented on the basis of tweets. And the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Paul Zukunft, made a point to indicate that he would stand by transgender service members. None of these public statements are likely to have been made if the Pentagon supported the President's position.

Since June 2016, the Department of Defense has allowed transgender members of the armed forces to serve openly and authentically. Estimates show there are thousands of transgender individuals currently serving in the military. Implementation of the existing policy involved more than a year of planning, and the President's decision to change the policy without formal review is the definition of arbitrary and capricious. Transgender service members who came out subsequent to the implementation of the policy did so with a good faith reliance on the promises communicated by the Department of Defense. The President is breaking faith with these service members.

The American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ) is the nation's largest non-profit organization of LGBT military spouses, their families, and allies. With more than 50,000 members and supporters, AMPA is committed to education, advocacy, and support for "modern military families." For more information, visit www.MilitaryPartners.org .

* * *

From the Palm Center: Reinstating Transgender Ban Would Disrupt Military Readiness

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Palm Center director Aaron Belkin made the following statement in response to reports that the White House is preparing to issue guidance clarifying the President's call for a military ban on transgender troops:

"It is unconscionable that the Commander-in-Chief would take aim at his own, loyally serving troops for political reasons at a time when the military needs to focus on real threats."

"Former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and General Martin Dempsey issued statements in support of our nation's transgender troops, and fifty-six retired Generals and Admirals concluded that banning transgender troops would 'cause significant disruptions' and would 'degrade readiness even more than the failed 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.' These distinguished military leaders are correct."

"Transgender troops have been serving openly in the U.S. military for more than a year, and have been widely praised by Commanders. Eighteen foreign militaries allow transgender personnel to serve, and none have reported any compromise to readiness. All available research, including scholarly publications by the RAND Corporation as well as retired General and Flag Officers, has reached the same conclusion: inclusive policy for LGBT personnel promotes readiness."

"Imposing one set of standards for transgender troops, and another set of standards for everyone else is a recipe for disruption, distraction and waste."

About The Palm Center

The Palm Center is an independent research institute committed to sponsoring state-of-the-art scholarship to enhance the quality of public dialogue about critical and controversial public policy issues. Our research on sexual minorities in the military has been published in leading social scientific journals. The Palm Center seeks to be a resource for university-affiliated as well as independent scholars, students, journalists, opinion leaders, and members of the public. For more information, see www.palmcenter.org .


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