TRUMP BANS TRANSGENDER PEOPLE FROM SERVING IN THE MILITARY

Lydia Briand prepare to raise the American Flag at Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan.

On July 26th, President Trump made an announcement in three tweets that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.” While this report is newsworthy, some people are not surprised since Trump and his administration have shown lack of support for the rights of the LGBT community, such as when he rolled back transgender bathroom protections.

About a month before Trump’s announcement, Defense Secretary James Mattis prevented transgender people from enlisting in the military for six months in order to determine if transgender military members will affect “readiness or lethality” of the military. This six month time period gave some people hope that Mattis would lift the ban.

During his confirmation hearing in January, Mattis was asked multiple times what his thoughts were about women and LGBT people serving in the military. Senator Mazie Hirono asked if there is “something innate in being a woman or the LGBT that would cause you to believe that they could not be part of the lethal force.” Mattis avoided answering the initial questions relating to the matter, but finally answered Hirono with a “no.”

Vice President Mike Pence swears in Ret. General James Mattis as U.S. Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon on Friday, January 27, 2017. Official White House Photo by Benjamin Applebaum.

Trump’s tweets say that he consulted with Generals and military experts on the matter but according to the Associated Press, those who work with Mattis seem to be caught unaware by Trump’s tweets. Currently, Mattis is on vacation.

Pentagon spokesperson, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said in a statement that, “We refer all questions about the president’s statements to the White House. We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the commander in chief on transgender individuals serving the military. We will provide revised guidance to the department in the near future.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – an organization known for defending LGBT legal cases – released a statement only a few hours after Trump’s tweets. Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project, said, “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.”

ACLU and NYCLU at the 2017 NYC Pride Parade. Photograph by Sarah Yenesel for The Untitled Magazine.

The White House has not commented on the matter since Trump’s tweets. Most people and news sources are questioning how Trump will carry out the ban. People are also asking what this ban would mean for transgender military members currently serving. According to a RAND Corporation study, there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender active duty members and 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves. There are also about 250 military members currently transitioning to their preferred genders.

Some people on Twitter are commenting on the fact that Trump had once vowed to protect the LGBT community after the Orlando pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016.

People on twitter are also bringing attention to the following tweet that was sent by Ivanka Trump last month.

Although, those who are part of and support the LGBT community are staying positive in the mist of the announcement.

Organizations and communities are starting to organize protests against Trump’s new ban. The Women’s March have organized a rally in New York City at Times Square in front of the U.S. Army Career Center on July 26th from 5 PM to 8 PM. This protest is to “#FightBack against Trump’s statement today that Trans people shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military.” Refuse Fascism has organized a protest at the U.S. Army Koreatown Recruiting Center in Los Angeles from 4 PM to 6 PM on July 26th to also show their resistance to the ban.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed

Where Art, Fashion & Culture Collide

Member Login

Forgot Password?

Join Us

Password Reset

Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.