In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, President Trump banned transgender people from serving in the U.S. military “in any capacity.” Many critics of the move have taken to Twitter to denounce the ban on trans people in the military. They argue that prohibiting trans Americans from military service will have far-reaching negative consequences for the armed forces, LGBT Americans, and the country as a whole.
In three tweets this morning, Trump wrote,
The ban is a reversal of a June 2016 decision by Ash Carter, Secretary of Defense under Obama, which ended the ban on transgender people serving in the military. In that decision, the Pentagon was granted a year to establish policies for enlisting transgender recruits. This June, with that review period set to end, Trump’s Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, announced that the wait would be extended for another six months.
It is unclear how Trump’s decision will affect the thousands of transgender people already serving in the U.S. military. Reports vary as to how many trans people are currently enlisted; the National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that there are more than 15,000 trans people serving in the military right now, while a 2016 survey from the RAND Corporation puts that number considerably lower, somewhere between 1,320 and 6,630. The Independent reports that there are as many as 250 trans people in the military at the moment who are either actively transitioning or who have “been approved to formally change gender within the Pentagon's personnel system.”
Needless to say, people who support LGBT rights have been highly critical of the ban, arguing that it is discriminatory, unnecessary, bigoted, and regressive. After so many steps forward for LGBT people in recent years — including last year’s decision to lift the ban on trans people in the military — this decision to bar trans Americans from military service represents a disturbing and grim step backward.
Banning transgender people from serving in the military weakens America's defense. In reality, the discrimination is the distraction.— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) July 26, 2017
The president just went on Twitter to attack 15,000 trans service members who are risking their lives to protect our freedom. How brave.— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) July 26, 2017
No American wishing to serve USA in military should face discrimination. Transgender service members, America honors you. I wish @POTUS did.— Alison L. Grimes (@AlisonForKY) July 26, 2017
This is discrimination, plain and simple. I stand with the brave transgender Americans who selflessly serve our military. https://t.co/VGck60O9G1— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) July 26, 2017
Invidious discrimination against any group must be opposed by all. Straight/Cis allies: Will you stand with LGBTs?#TransRightsAreHumanRights— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 26, 2017
Ironic - as well as cruel - that Trump won't let transgender people serve in the military; courage is one of their greatest traits.— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) July 26, 2017
69 yrs ago today, Truman signed order to desegregate military. Today Trump tweets that transgender ppl are banned from it. Going backwards— Thai Phi Le (@thaiphi_le) July 26, 2017
Trolling at its finest from a man who's never served & shown up the way trans servicefolk have & are https://t.co/r8f6vW2N4J— Janet Mock (@janetmock) July 26, 2017
Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 26, 2017
in the US which may be or are already strongly disposed against trans people - if the US government and military doesn't have to take them— shon faye (@shonfaye) July 26, 2017
or treat them as anything but a social burden - why should anyone else. I'm so sorry for trans people in the US living with this crap— shon faye (@shonfaye) July 26, 2017
I grew up in a military w/ LGBT people serving in the shadows. We can't let DT turn back the clock on our brave, trans soldiers. #RISEUP— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) July 26, 2017