Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families, responded to outrageous comments made by President Donald Trump regarding the service of transgender troops and his move to ban them from the military. Regarding his recent tweets announcing his ban, President Trump said, “As you know, it’s been a very complicated issue for the military. It’s been a very confusing issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favor.”
“President Trump’s shameful comments are an absolute insult to our nation’s armed forces and a slap in the face to the thousands of transgender service members who are willing to risk their lives every day for this country,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “Their selfless service and sacrifice for this nation is no ‘complicated issue.’ Military leadership and the far majority of Americans support all of our nation’s heroes, and President Trump should start doing the same.”
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. Last week, 56 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 just yesterday, Navy professors released a new report indicating President Trump’s reckless ban would cost the military more than $960 million.
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.