Democrat and Republican working together to block Trump’s trans ban in Senate
A Democratic and Republican Senator are behind a bipartisan push for an amendment to block Trump’s transgender ban.
Donald Trump’s Defense Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis is pushing ahead with the administration’s plans to ban transgender people from the military.
In the face of multiple civil rights lawsuits, Trump officials have already blocked recruitment of any military personnel who identify as transgender, while they are working on plans to ‘purge’ existing soldiers from next year.
But two Senators are working across party lines to try and block the move.
An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, filed by GOP Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, would prevent the Department of Defense (DoD) from removing qualified service members from the Armed Forces based solely on their gender identity.
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Senator Gillibrand, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, said: “Any individual who wants to join our military and meets the standards should be allowed to serve, period. Gender identity should have nothing to do with it.
“I am proud to work with Senator Collins to introduce our bipartisan amendment to protect transgender members of our Armed Forces, and I will always fight for our brave transgender troops who put their lives on the line to protect our country.”
Senator Collins said: “Our armed forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country.
“If individuals are willing to put on the uniform of our country, be deployed in war zones, and risk their lives for our freedoms, then we should be expressing our gratitude to them, not trying to exclude them from military service.”
The amendment would prohibit DOD from “involuntarily separating”, or denying the reenlistment or continuation in service in the Armed Forces of, currently serving transgender service members solely on the basis of the member’s gender identity.
It would direct Secretary Mattis to complete his review of accession of transgender individuals into the Armed Forces by the end of this year, and report the results to Congress.
Senator Collins, a rare voice for LGBT equality among the Republicans, previously backed the successful repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2010, which allowed gay people to serve in the armed forces.