Leo Varadkar defends trans people serving in Ireland’s military
Leo Varadkar has defended transgender troops serving in the country’s military and insisted that they will not be banned.
Varadkar, who recently made history when he became the first gay Prime Minister of Ireland, made the statement after US President Donald Trump stated that trans troops would be banned from serving earlier this week.
The Taoiseach said that the transgender ban was “not something I agree with”.
“It is a domestic policy issue for the United States,” Varadkar explained. “They run their defence forces, we run ours”.
He added that “It is not something I would ever consider introducing to Ireland”.
The Defence Forces in Ireland said in a statement that it is “committed to the principle of equal opportunity in all its employment policies”.
“The Defence Forces welcome applications from all members of Irish society, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender”.
It is not known how many transgender people currently serve in the Irish Defence Forces.
Trump’s ban on trans military personnel came after President Obama asked the Pentagon to lift its long ban on trans soldiers serving openly.
The Department of Defence was given until July 1 to implement this policy, however, Defence Secretary James Mattis and President Trump said that this decision had been reversed.
Trump cited the cost of trans care for the backtrack, but the department would be spending five times more than the cost of trans healthcare on Viagra.
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The policy has caused outrage among LGBT activists internationally.
Former Navy SEAL Kristin Beck who is a trans woman challenged Trump to tell her to her face that she is “not worthy” after he announced the policy.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday said she was working on legislation to reverse the announcement by President Trump.
“Our office is working on legislation to stop this from happening and on an amendment to the [National Defense Authorization Act], but these are all long-term fixes,” Moran Banai, a senior adviser in the senator’s office told Vox.
Now Senator Gillibrand has the signatures of 44 other senators urging the Pentagon to at least let the Department of Defense finish a review on the issue before bringing in the new policy.