It was announced via social media platform Twitter on July 26, 2017 that President Trump was to implement a nationwide ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, stating that it “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”.
Trump has been cited numerous times as being supportive of the LGBT community; in a 2000 interview Trump stated that ” If the best person for the job happens to be gay, I would certainly appoint them.”, and that he supports ” the idea of amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation”. And more recently on June 14, 2016, Trump published a Tweet reading:
“Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
According to GOProud co-founder Chris Barron, the latter portion of this Tweet refers to Trump’s desire to combat radical Islam, which seeks “the global extermination of LGBT people”. Barron later states:
“I defer to the military leaders to determine what policies around the question of trans service best allow them to win the war on radical anti-LGBT Islamic extremism.”
Despite Trump’s extensive history of LGBT support, many LGBT Trump-supporters were shocked to hear of the president’s proposal. Log Cabin Republicans president Gregory T. Angelo reports:
“This smacks of politics, pure and simple. The United States military already includes transgender individuals who protect our freedom day in and day out. Excommunicating transgender soldiers only weakens our readiness; it doesn’t strengthen it. The president’s statement this morning does a disservice to transgender military personnel and reintroduces the same hurtful stereotypes conjured when openly gay men and women were barred from service during the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ era. As an organization that led the charge against that hateful policy, Log Cabin Republicans remains equally committed to standing up for transgender military personnel who put their lives on the line to keep us free.”
Though President Trump seems eager to take action against transgender participation in the U.S. military, no executive action has been taken yet; it is unknown whether this plan will be implimented or even brought to court. An estimated 15,500 transgender people are actively serving in the military, and about 58% of Americans agree that transgender individuals have a right to serve. Until official action is taken in regards to Trump’s proposal, military leaders plan to “continue to treat all of our personnel with respect”, according to General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Protests have taken place nationwide, and it seems as though the American public is not satisfied with Trump’s handling of the delicate issue of LGBT involvement in the military; with the repeal of the notorious “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2010, many supporters of the LGBT community anticipated great change involving LGBT discrimination in the military.
“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,” stated Senator John McCain.