President Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from the military has united Republican and Democrats against his unequivocally prejudiced effort. Senator Kristen Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, and Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, have introduced an amendment that would prevent Trump’s ban from being implemented, both senators announced on Monday.
Collins and Gillibrand’s amendment is attached to the National Defense Authorization Act — it would bar the Department of Defense from rejecting qualified service members based on their gender identity and require the Department to proceed with Defense Secretary James Mattis’ requested report on transgender troops’ ability to serve. (I’ll save them the effort, though. Trans troops are absolutely capable of serving.)
Both senators emphasized that anyone who is willing to die for their country should be allowed to serve, regardless of their gender, in announcing the amendment. “Any individual who wants to join our military and meets the standards should be allowed to serve, period,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Gender identity should have nothing to do with it.”
Trump, who announced his intent to ban trans troops from the military in a series of early morning tweets, surprising military leaders, said his decision was purely based on funding. But we know it wasn’t given that transgender troops cost the Department of Defense less than it annually spends on erectile dysfunction drugs.
The amendment’s future is up to congress: they could approve it or they might decide to shelve it. If the ban does proceed towards implementation, as Trump has promised, then it will likely encounter more lawsuits — and it’s already facing a few.