House Passes Measure to Overturn President Trump’s Ban of Transgender Troops
In a bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a measure that would overturn President Trump’s ban on open transgender troops once signed into law.
Introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D - CA), the measure is an amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and will now be sent with the full NDAA to the US Senate. The amendment includes transgender troops in the same equal opportunity policies that have existed in the military since 1948, which have been expanded to women and to gay, lesbian, and bisexual troops.
After numerous legal setbacks and rejection of the ban by military leadership and numerous state National Guards, the ban took effect on April 12.
An estimated 15,000 transgender troops were active duty members of the armed forces at the time of ban’s implementation. The Defense Department has not made public any information on how many service members are being processed for discharge or denied commissions under the ban. Some individuals have already reported losing ROTC scholarships or other opportunities as a result.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, hailed the amendment’s passage:
“This is a crucial moment for our elected officials to bring accountability to a reckless and lawless policy. This bigoted ban has brought chaos to prospective recruits, active duty servicemembers, and countless families forced to watch their dedication and duty soiled by a self-interested President. The military wants and needs qualified transgender people, and we applaud this action by the House to ensure that every person willing and able to serve is allowed to serve. It will now be up to the Conference Committee and the President whether to embrace equal opportunity or discrimination.”