Since Trump issued his executive tweet banning transgender people from the military, we’ve been flooded with responses. Here are a few.
And, by the way, we ran into this interesting statistic. Trump claims the reason for the ban is the cost to the military in medical care. Apparently his trips to his Palm Beach mansion during his first 100 days cost more than medical care for the military’s transgender service personnel.
U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson:
As a granddaughter, daughter, niece, wife and sister of a veteran, I find it shameful for the president to deem a certain group of people as unqualified to serve in our military. The United States military is deserving of all who we are undoubtedly committed, dedicated and willing to humbly serve our nation. A person should not be deemed unfit to lay down their life for their country based on their gender identity. Our transgendered friends and family member should be treated equally and allowed to serve and protect our democracy and liberties.
Shannon Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights:
In three tweets, Trump is purporting to fire 15,000 transgender service members bravely serving our country and to prevent other patriotic transgender persons from enlisting. While the impact of Trump’s tweets is unclear, banning transgender service members would erode military readiness and contradict our country’s values and ideals. Like every American, transgender service members should be judged by their qualifications and performance. President Trump’s bizarre assault on these dedicated service members is appalling. Those who serve our country deserve our gratitude and respect. We call on the President to retract this harmful statement and to defer to the Pentagon’s assessment that transgender people are fit to serve.
The Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas, senior pastor Cathedral of Hope
This is yet another demonstration of a lack of leadership, foresight and outright discrimination that is being pushed by unchristian values at the highest level of our government. It is a witch hunt that is focused on some of the most vulnerable members of our society and should be resisted by all people of faith and good conscience. From so-called “bathroom bills” to this latest move, it has become clear that many in our country are undereducated and have not listened to our transgender siblings and are led by hatred, bigotry and outright discrimination, none of the values that we see in either Jesus or the spiritual leaders of other faiths — values that can summed up in the “Golden Rule,” to do unto others as you would have done unto yourselves.
Lisa Kenney, executive director of Gender Spectrum:
Transgender troops effectively serve in our military and militaries around the world. The fear reflected in the President’s tweets reflects a lack of understanding re the transgender troops who have served, and are currently serving, our country. Excluding anyone who wants to serve our country based on gender identity is not only harmful to the individual, but also excludes an increasingly large number of people who we rely on to keep our country safe. President Trump’s tweets may be headline grabbing, but they do not make good policy.
A ban on transgender troops would potentially affect millions of Americans. A 2016 Minnesota Department of Education Student Survey found that, of the approximately 80,000 students participating in 9th and 11th grades, 2.5% of students consider themselves transgender or gender diverse. Clearly young people today understand, express and identify gender differently than previous generations. When the President tweets about a ban on transgender personnel, who is he including? Would such a ban be based on identity, expression, or both? Given that transgender people enlist to serve at twice the rate of the general population, such a ban would potentially exclude a sizable population.
“Today’s reprehensible attack on transgender military personnel by President Trump is unconscionable. The more than 15,000 transgender Americans who serve our country today deserve nothing but respect from their commander-in-chief. Transgender service members are brave patriots, not burdens or disruptions. The Defense Department has already extensively studied readiness issues concerning transgender people serving openly, so there is no reason to believe that this policy is anything other than blatant discrimination. To every transgender person in the United States: We see you, we love you, and we will never stop fighting for you.”