Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families, praised the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ condemnation of President Trump’s proposed transgender military ban.
“We are thankful the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has spoken out and joined the growing bipartisan condemnation of President Trump’s vicious assault on our nation’s transgender service members and their families,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “President Trump’s unpatriotic attack on our brave men and women in uniform who are willing to risk their lives for this country is beyond outrageous and must be stopped. Our nation’s heroes deserve our full support, not tweets and attacks from the command in chief threatening to purge them from the military.”
In their condemnation, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights stated, “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. 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 recently, Navy professors released a new 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.