As the CEO for CenterLink and as a retired gay female military officer that served her country for over 24 years (under the harmful ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy), Trump’s tweet this morning declaring that “…the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” is a blatant attack on what ultimately makes our military the strongest in the world. Recruiting the best talent has nothing to do with race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The successful policy allowing Transgender people to serve is already in its implementation stage. According to the Williams Institute:
-- 150,000 transgender adults have served in the U.S. Armed Forces or are currently on active duty.
-- 15,500 transgender adults are on active duty or are serving in National Guard or Reserves.
-- 134,300 transgender adults are veterans or retired military personnel.
For decades, brave transgender patriots have served our nation with valor and distinction. Transgender people are our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen & women and coast guard men & women - but they are also our teachers and students, coworkers and neighbors.
It should surprise no one that Trump’s latest attacks are happening as the Senate is debating ending health care for millions and the Attorney General threatens to withhold federal funds from cities that protect the rights of undocumented people.
Every day, our community centers work to support and affirm trans - and all LGBTQ - people. Despite this blatant and cynical political attempt by the Trump White House to rally opponents of equality, I am confident the American people will see and reject this kind of anti LGBTQ discrimination for exactly what it is.
How can you support the transgender community? Contact the chair and ranking members of the Senate and House Committee on Armed Services and demand that they take action to stop Trump’s Ban on Transgender Military Service.
I strongly oppose any ban on transgender individuals from serving in our military. Our transgender service members serve our country with honor and distinction, in spite of the very real discrimination they still face. Not only is the decision to ban transgender individuals from the military blatantly discriminatory, it goes against the research and experience in other countries where transgender people have been allowed to serve openly. We call on you and the Committee on Armed Services to do everything within your power to protect transgender service members who at great sacrifice choose to serve their country. It is the least we can do for them.
John McCain, United States Senate Committee on Armed Services Chair
Jack Reed, United States Senate Committee on Armed Services Ranking Member
Mac Thornberry, United States House Committee on Armed Services Chair
Adam Smith, United States House Committee on Armed Services Ranking Member