Current Affairs

61 percent of military personnel and veterans back Trump trans troops ban

Nick Duffy January 3, 2019
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President Donald Trump speaks to Air Force personnel

President Donald Trump speaks to Air Force personnel (Alex Wong/Getty)

A poll of US military personnel and veterans has found broad support for President Donald Trump’s policy banning trans troops.

The poll, conducted by Smithsonian, Stars and Stripes and George Mason University, asked 1,031 service members and veterans about their views on military policy.

It found just 39 percent approval for transgender people serving in the military, with 61 percent of respondents opposed.

Women more likely to support trans troops

Women in the military were far more likely to be supportive of trans troops, with 62 percent in favour compared to just 37 percent of men.

Younger military personnel and veterans were also more likely to favour the inclusion of trans troops, with 55 percent of millennials in support, compared to just 32 percent of older respondents.

Trans troops ban: President Donald Trump speaks to members of the U.S. Navy and shipyard workers
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the U.S. Navy and shipyard workers on board the USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 that is being built at Newport News shipbuilding, on March 2, 2017 in Newport News, Virginia. (Mark Wilson/Getty)

It is not the first time that polling has shown that service personnel are opposed to LGBT inclusivity.

A poll in 2008 showed that the majority of service personnel opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the law that banned openly gay troops from serving in the military

The latest poll comes despite studies showing that the deployment of transgender troops has little impact on military readiness.

In July 2017, Trump abruptly announced on Twitter that all transgender servicepeople would be purged from the US armed forces, claiming they were a burden on the military.

The resulting policy has been repeatedly challenged in courts, and trans service personnel are currently able to continue serving while the issue continues to be subject to legal action.

Trump administration wants Supreme Court ruling over trans troops

The Trump administration recently urged the Supreme Court to take up cases relating to the policy in a highly unconventional move that skips several stages of the legal process.

Due to the strong conservative majority on the court following Trump’s appointments of Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, LGBT+ activists fear that the court could side with the administration and allow the ban to go into effect.

Lambda Legal counsel Peter Renn, who represents transgender troops battling the ban, said: “There is no valid reason for the Trump-Pence administration to try to short-circuit established practice and ask for review before the federal Courts of Appeal have even had an opportunity to rule.

“It is mystifying why the Trump-Pence administration is suddenly so desperate to kick out transgender service members when it’s been already five months since the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an earlier stay request.

“Moreover, since transgender troops were able to serve openly starting two-and-a-half years ago, there has been no diminution of readiness, no disruption of unit cohesion.”

In September, a book alleged that Trump privately vented about transgender soldiers getting “clipped” before tweeting his decision to ban them from the military.

Related topics: LGBT, military, poll, Trans, Transgender, troops, Trump, US

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