In a tragic reversal of a historic step forward for the United States, the Trump administration today instructed the Armed Serves to begin discharging transgender service members effective April 12.
The instructions state that any of the thousands of current transgender service members who come out, or is found out, after April 12 and is not willing to renounce and suppress their identity will be subject to discharge. Several hundred service members who have previously transitioned--and anyone who manages to rush through the current military process to transition in the next 30 days--will be “exempt,” but will serve under a cloud of suspicion and will never be able to return if they leave the military for any length of time.
After years of research and consideration by the Pentagon and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, transgender people were officially allowed into the military in 2016. Today, close to 15,000 transgender troops serve in the military, and President Trump’s ban has been denounced by former military leaders, Members of Congress from both parties, and the American Medical Association. This announcement by the administration reverses those gains and ignores that progress.
Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, issued the following statement:
“The start of this looming purge represents an unprecedented step backward in the social and civil progress of our country and our military. Throughout our nation’s history, we have seen arbitrary barriers in our military replaced with inclusion and equal standards. This is the first time in American history such a step forward has been reversed, and it is a severe blow to the military and to the nation’s values.
“The Trump Administration is built on demonizing minority groups; reversing the civil rights gains of immigrants, people of color, women, and the LGBTQ movement will forever remain the hallmarks of their time in office. That is why Congress must act now and secure the fate of nearly 15,000 transgender troops. We cannot let an incompetent administration guided by a petulant bigot stand as the mascot of our time. History is watching Congress, and will judge them harshly for inaction. That is why we must act swiftly to protect transgender troops, our military, and the dignity of our own legacy.”