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Donald Trump bans transgender people from serving in the military

Nick Duffy July 26, 2017
donald trump getty

(Getty)

Donald Trump has reversed an Obama policy allowing transgender people to serve in the US military.

In June of last year, President Obama asked the Pentagon to lift its long-held ban on transgender soldiers serving openly in the military.

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.

The Pentagon is currently directing all queries about the policy to the White House.

The policy has been slammed by a string of politicians.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said: “Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy, who chairs the  Transgender Equality Task Force in Congress, said: “When our bravest men and women raise their hand and volunteer to defend our nation, they defend all of her people. Rich and poor, young and old, democrat and republican, gay and straight. Americans of all races, religions, ethnicities, gender identities.

“Our soldiers do not discriminate. They don’t offer to pay the ultimate sacrifice for some Americans and not for others. Their government owes them that same courtesy.”

“To the thousands of brave transgender men and women serving today in uniform, please know that a grateful nation does not take your service, your patriotism for granted. you deserve better from your president, you deserve better from your government, you deserve better from your country.”

Senator Tammy Duckworth said: “When my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender or anything else. All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind.

“If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve—no matter your gender identity, sexual orientation or race. Anything else is discriminatory and counterproductive to our national security.”

The ACLU has threatened to sue Trump.

A statement 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: Department of Health and Human Services, Donald Trump, Health, HHS, lgbt seniors, Politics, president, seniors, Tom Price, US, US

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