Donald Trump set off a firestorm again Wednesday morning when he reportedly surprised even his own Department of Defense by tweeting out that the U.S. military would no longer allow transgender men and women to serve" in any capacity." In what is certainly a not-so-subtle dig at their neighbor to the South, Canada's armed forces tweeted their acceptance of LGBT recruits hours after Trump announced the ban on transgender troops.
"We welcome Cdns of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Join us! #DiversityIsOurStrength #ForcesJobs" the Canadian military Twitter account posted. The tweet was accompanied by a photograph of military band performers at what appears to be a gay pride parade and a link to a recruitment website.
This isn't the only time the Canadian government has responded to Trump controversies by pushing its own progressive values. In late January, when Trump set off chaos at airports around the country with his soon-to-be struck down ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority nations as well as refugee resettlement, Canada's government responded by reaffirming their commitment to bringing in refugees.
When Trump pulled the United states out of the Paris climate accord, Canada reiterated their support for cutting greenhouse emissions and fighting climate change along with the other 194 signatories who would remain in the landmark agreement. Perhaps it's no wonder that some who oppose Trump wish Justin Trudeau was the American president.
Canada has accepted transgender individuals into their military since 2012, though they have made efforts since then to improve trans inclusion in the armed forces after difficulties. In 2016, the United States joined its neighbor to the North in admitting transgender troops, leading to several thousand now serving in uniform, though Trump is now putting their jobs in jeopardy.
Beyond Canada, Trump got significant pushback for his surprise ban on transgender servicemen and women, not just from Democrats but from many in his own party. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) responded with in a statement: "There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity." Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinin (R-FL), who herself has a transgender son, tweeted her support for trans individuals in the service.
Since Trump announced the new policy shift on Twitter, Washington, D.C. has been scrambling to figure out how (and if) it should be implemented. In the midst of chaos coming from the American government and military, it must be reassuring for Canadians to know that their government is just sticking with the accepting policy it's had for years.