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ACLU planning to take on Trump transgender military ban

Nick Duffy July 26, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to take on Donald Trump, after he re-banned trans people from the military.

The President of the United States announced today that he would re-impose a ban on transgender soldiers serving openly in the military.

Reversing a decision under Barack Obama, Trump claimed in a string of tweets that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”.

There are thought to be more than 15,000 transgender Americans currently serving in the armed forces, who could now face discharge.

Donald Trump

In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union vowed to take up the case of anyone dismissed following the decision.

The ACLU said: “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.

“Let us be clear. This has been studied extensively, and the consensus is clear: There are no cost or military readiness drawbacks associated with allowing trans people to fight for their country.

“The president is trying to score cheap political points on the backs of military personnel who have put their lives on the line for their country.

“There is no basis for turning trans people away from our military and the ACLU is examining all of our options on how to fight this.

“For any trans service member affected by today’s announcement: Please get in touch with us, because we want to hear from you.”

Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD said: “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 government – even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation.

“Today further exposed President Trump’s overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation. Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans, and this action couldn’t make that any more clear.”

The Democrats said: “Right this moment, around the world, brave transgender service members are protecting the American people – including Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

“While the White House claims to be celebrating ‘American Heroes’ week, the president and vice president are shoving real American patriots back in the closet and putting our nation’s security at risk.

“Donald Trump said he would protect LGBTQ people, but today’s decision to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military proves his promise was another bald-faced lie.

“Democrats stand with the transgender community and we will fight this administration’s bigotry tooth-and-nail. Those who defend our right to live freely should be able to serve freely.

“This cowardly statement by Donald Trump shames our nation and its history of advancing diversity in our military – from the integration of African-Americans into the military by President Truman to President Obama’s ending of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – and it is an insult to the millions of Americans who have courageously served our nation.”

The Human Rights Campaign attacked the White House for a “deeply troubling and patently unpatriotic assault on military families”.

The group added: “[Trump and Pence should] be working to ensure all service members and their families are getting the support and resources they need and deserve, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Chad Griffin added: “Today Donald Trump has proven himself as unpatriotic as he is unfit to serve as Commander in Chief. He has put a target on the backs of the more than 15,000 transgender troops proudly serving in our military.

“This heinous and disgusting action endangers the lives of American service members, undermines military readiness and makes our country less safe.

“It is also the latest effort by Trump and Mike Pence to undo our progress and drag LGBTQ people back into the closet by using our lives as political pawns.”

The President famously dodged the draft four times during the Vietnam war, and has never served in the military.

Trump’s new ban is reminiscent of rules that banned gay people from openly serving in the military.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which was repealed by President Obama in 2013, led to the expulsion of hundreds of gay and lesbian officials in the military.

However, the ban on transgender people under separate medical rules was only lifted in 2016.

It is not the first time Trump has gone out of his way to reverse a decision on LGBT rights made by Obama.

The GOP leader has already scrapped protections for transgender school kids, ceased government opposition to state-level anti-LGBT laws, and sought to slash HIV aid funding.

The decisions sour Trump’s previous claims during his election campaign to be a “friend” of LGBT people.

In a speech directly after the Orlando massacre he had claimed: “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the L-G-B-T community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words.”

He also won endless praise from gay Republicans for waving a Pride flag on stage, while making no pledges on LGBT rights.

The Department of Defense was given until July 1 of this year to implement the policy, with LGBT advocates hopeful that transgender soldiers would finally be able to serve openly.

The decision was delayed by Trump’s Defence Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis – and the President confirmed today that he would reverse the decision put the ban back in place.

President Trump 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. Thank you.”

Though Trump claimed the decision was taken “after consultation with Generals”, the Pentagon had not made any formal objection to the plan, and the decision rests entirely with the President.

Some within the military have raised concern about the short implementation window of the changes, though chiefs had backed the plans.

The decision was reportedly pushed by Vice President Mike Pence, a strong opponent of LGBT rights.

Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD said: “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 government – even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation.

“Today further exposed President Trump’s overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation. Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans, and this action couldn’t make that any more clear.”

The Democrats said: “Right this moment, around the world, brave transgender service members are protecting the American people – including Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

“While the White House claims to be celebrating ‘American Heroes’ week, the president and vice president are shoving real American patriots back in the closet and putting our nation’s security at risk.

“Donald Trump said he would protect LGBTQ people, but today’s decision to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military proves his promise was another bald-faced lie.

“Democrats stand with the transgender community and we will fight this administration’s bigotry tooth-and-nail. Those who defend our right to live freely should be able to serve freely.

“This cowardly statement by Donald Trump shames our nation and its history of advancing diversity in our military – from the integration of African-Americans into the military by President Truman to President Obama’s ending of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – and it is an insult to the millions of Americans who have courageously served our nation.”

The Human Rights Campaign attacked the White House for a “deeply troubling and patently unpatriotic assault on military families”.

The group added: “[Trump and Pence should] be working to ensure all service members and their families are getting the support and resources they need and deserve, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Chad Griffin added: “Today Donald Trump has proven himself as unpatriotic as he is unfit to serve as Commander in Chief. He has put a target on the backs of the more than 15,000 transgender troops proudly serving in our military.

“This heinous and disgusting action endangers the lives of American service members, undermines military readiness and makes our country less safe.

“It is also the latest effort by Trump and Mike Pence to undo our progress and drag LGBTQ people back into the closet by using our lives as political pawns.”

The President famously dodged the draft four times during the Vietnam war, and has never served in the military.

Trump’s new ban is reminiscent of rules that banned gay people from openly serving in the military.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which was repealed by President Obama in 2013, led to the expulsion of hundreds of gay and lesbian officials in the military.

However, the ban on transgender people under separate medical rules was only lifted in 2016.

It is not the first time Trump has gone out of his way to reverse a decision on LGBT rights made by Obama.

The GOP leader has already scrapped protections for transgender school kids, ceased government opposition to state-level anti-LGBT laws, and sought to slash HIV aid funding.

The decisions sour Trump’s previous claims during his election campaign to be a “friend” of LGBT people.

In a speech directly after the Orlando massacre he had claimed: “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the L-G-B-T community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words.”

He also won endless praise from gay Republicans for waving a Pride flag on stage, while making no pledges on LGBT rights.

More: ACLU, american civil liberties union, LGBT, Trans, Transgender, Trump, US

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