(DoD Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. James K. McCann)
Once again, Donald Trump shows us that he is no friend to the LGBT community. Taking to twitter this morning, Trump announced a new policy banning Transgender individuals from serving in the military.
He said: “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.”
This horrible new policy announcement puts the thousands of LBGTQ service members in very precarious position. This takes us back to the days of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” where Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender individuals we forced to hide their identity.
Since 2016, transgender service members have been allowed to serve openly in the Armed Forces. However, that order did not allow transgender people to enlist until the conclusion of a one-year implementation period that was supposed to end at the beginning of July. However, in June, service chiefs requested a six month delay to study the issue further.
Currently, the U.S. military has 15,000 transgender individuals serving, making it the largest employer of transgender individuals in the nation. Thus far, the Defense Department has not issued a statement on Trump’s tweets. Questions remain regarding how Trump’s discriminatory ban will be enforced.
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who in 2006 as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, fought to overturn “don’t ask, don’t tell,” fired back at Trump with her statement.
“This morning’s tweets from the President are a disgraceful slap in the face to the thousands of transgender troops who are actively serving our country, and to all transgender Americans who aspire to serve. These troops are patriots who deserve to be appreciated for their service, not used as political props by their Commander in Chief. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will fight to prevent President Trump’s ugly rhetoric against our troops from becoming reality, and to make sure these troops know that Americans appreciate their service and sacrifice.”
“If you are a trans service member affected by Trump’s outrageous announcement that he is barring transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, please contact us,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of ACLU-NH. “You and your service to our country deserve better than a Commander-in-Chief who rejects your basic humanity.”
Though some claimed that Trump was a “friend” to the LBGTQ community, it was clear that his support of North Carolina’s HB2, aka the bathroom bill, showed that he does not support the rights of trans individuals. Now with Vice President Mike Pence by his side, Trump will most likely push even more anti-LBGTQ policies based on their warped ideological views.
“As an Iraq war veteran and member of the LGBTQ community who was personally impacted by ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ I am appalled at Donald Trump’s announcement this morning banning transgender people from serving in the military,” said Jason Lindsay, Executive Director of Pride Fund to End Gun Violence. “This is blatant discrimination, full-stop, and a colossal step backwards for our country.”
“Trump vowed to protect the LGBTQ community during his campaign, but his methodical dismantling of LGBTQ protections and rights shows his true intentions. This morning’s announcement is a direct attack on the transgender community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the only way we can protect our community is to elect pro-equality Democrats at the state and federal levels—which is exactly what Pride Fund has done, and will continue to do,” said Lindsay.
In New Hampshire, Freedom New Hampshire has been pushing to expand transgender protections and codify new anti-discrimination laws against trans individuals.
Linds Jakows, campaign manager for Freedom New Hampshire called Trump’s tweets an “open attack” on the LBGTQ individuals serving in our nations Armed Forces.
“This is a clear and open attack on the brave individuals serving in our Armed Forces. Like all service members, those who are transgender go to work everyday, putting their lives on the line to defend our nation and the freedoms and values we hold dear. They should be treated with the same dignity and respect that all of our nation’s military members deserve,” Jakows stated.
“Today’s announcement sends an especially concerning message for transgender Granite Staters. Currently, New Hampshire is the only state in New England that does not explicitly protect transgender residents or visitors from discrimination in housing, employment or public services.
“Freedom New Hampshire is closely monitoring the situation, and remains committed to protecting all New Hampshire’s transgender residents and visitors from discrimination in housing, employment and public services,” Jakows concluded.
Another organization fighting for the rights of trans people is Rights & Democracy who had already planned an event in Manchester to show support for transgender individuals and continue to push for strong anti-discrimination laws.
“More than ever before, transgender nondiscrimination protections in New Hampshire are vital to the health and well being of our communities statewide,” they wrote on their Facebook Event page.
After today’s announcement showing our support for transgendered individuals is more important than ever.
Join Rights and Democracy’s event in Manchester July 29th.