Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families, strongly condemned new rules from the White House implementing President Donald Trump’s vicious assault on transgender service members. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the new guidance will “allow Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to consider a service member’s ability to deploy in deciding whether to kick them out of the military. The White House memo also directs the Pentagon to deny admittance to transgender individuals and to stop spending on medical treatment regimens for those currently serving, according to U.S. officials familiar with the document.”
“Despite the overwhelming bipartisan condemnation of his reckless tweets, President Trump is still pushing forward with his vicious assault on transgender service members,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “His foolhardy assertion that transgender service members are not able to deploy is simply not rooted in fact. Transgender service members are just as deployable as any other service member. These brave men and women are already risking their lives for this country around the world. They have earned their right to appropriate medical care, and President Trump’s attempt to rip that away is beyond unconscionable.”
There has been overwhelming condemnation of President Trump’s transgender military ban. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ condemned the ban, stating, “The President’s mere announcement of a ban on transgender military service harms all Americans by sending a message that fosters and encourages prejudice, inconsistent with our core national values. If implemented, the ban would further harm Americans, and weaken our defense, by enshrining unequal treatment of Americans based on rank stereotype.”
The far majority of Americans believe transgender people should be allowed to serve, and the bipartisan outrage over the President’s ban has been swift and severe. Fifty-six retired generals and admirals warned that the ban, if implemented, would degrade military readiness. More than 50 House Armed Services, Judiciary, and LGBT Equality Caucus Democrats urged Secretary Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff not to comply with an unconstitutional ban. And Navy professors released a report indicating President Trump’s reckless ban would cost the military more than $960 million — 100 times the estimated cost of trans healthcare.
Military commanders have already gone on the record as being opposed to this move. CNN has reported that Secretary Mattis worked against efforts to impose this policy via the National Defense Authorization Act. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Joseph Dunford, issued a public statement that indicated policy would not be implemented on the basis of tweets. And the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Paul Zukunft, made a point to indicate that he would stand by transgender service members. None of these public statements are likely to have been made if the Pentagon supported the President’s position.
Since June 2016, the Department of Defense has allowed transgender members of the armed forces to serve openly and authentically. Estimates show there are thousands of transgender individuals currently serving in the military. Implementation of the existing policy involved more than a year of planning, and the President’s decision to change the policy without formal review is the definition of arbitrary and capricious. Transgender service members who came out subsequent to the implementation of the policy did so with a good faith reliance on the promises communicated by the Department of Defense. The President is breaking faith with these service members.