After ignoring military leaders who said it is a stupid idea that will degrade military readiness, the administration of serial draft–dodger Donald Trump seems to be moving forward with a sweeping ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military.
The Los Angeles Blade reported on Friday that the White House Counsel’s office has converted Trump’s tweets last week announcing the ban into “guidance” policy that will now be sent to Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“After his review, Mattis is expected to order a deliberate implementation by the Pentagon, which could take a period of time,” the Blade wrote.
Called “A Guidance Policy for Open Transgender Service Phase Out,” the policy reportedly not only will prevent new transgender recruits from enlisting, but also will seek to force out of service thousands of transgender military personnel currently serving, through early retirement, refusal to renew contracts, and blocking officer promotions.
This is despite overwhelming backlash to the proposal, including from pro–military Republican senators like John McCain and Orrin Hatch, and current and former members of the military.
On July 26, the day Trump tweeted the ban, McCain stated on his Senate website:
The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. 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. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so—and should be treated as the patriots they are.
Last Tuesday, 56 retired generals and admirals issued a joint statement warning that Trump’s proposed policy would “deprive the military of mission–critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy.”
The statement continued:
Recently, two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have taken courageous stands in support of our transgender service members. General Martin Dempsey said of our transgender troops that, “The service of men and women who volunteer and who meet our standards of service is a blessing, not a burden.”
And Admiral Mike Mullen stated that, “I led our armed forces under the flawed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy and saw firsthand the harm to readiness and morale when we fail to treat all service members according to the same standards. Thousands of transgender Americans are currently serving in uniform and there is no reason to single out these brave men and women and deny them the medical care that they require…The military conducted a thorough research process on this issue and concluded that inclusive policy for transgender troops promotes readiness.”
Yet none of this seems to matter to President Trump, who refers to military leaders as, “my Generals.” And like other discriminatory and unconstitutional policies forced upon the country by this bigoted administration that caters to a small, right–wing and evangelical base, the fight over Trump’s trans military ban likely is headed to the courts.
“This mean-spirited and discriminatory attack on our community is capricious, irrational and clearly driven by anti–LGBT forces in the administration who care more about harming transgender people than keeping our nation safe. It is clearly unconstitutional,” said transgender military veteran and Lambda Legal attorney Sasha Buchert.
“See you in court, President Trump,” Buchert added.