WASHINGTON — Social media exploded Wednesday morning after Trump announced via Twitter that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
The Washington Post reported that the announcement comes just after Trump’s defense secretary, retired Gen. Jim Mattis, delayed the implementation of the plan to accept transgender troops by six months. The decision came one day before the deadline for the military to update its medical standards to accommodate transgender service members. It reverse an order by President Obama to allow transgender people to serve.
One Iowa Executive Director Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel issued a statement condemning President Trump’s announcement. “All this proclamation will do is fully reinstate a blanket ban that prevents transgender people from bringing their whole selves to their mission and from receiving basic support from the nation they disproportionately fight to defend,” Zinnel said. “Our transgender service people and veterans deserve far better than this, and we are deeply disappointed and angered by the disrespect to which President Trump, Rep. Steve King, and our nation’s policies have subjected them.”
PROMO, an LGBT rights organization in Missouri, said “There is no place for discrimination in the military. Eliminating transgender people from the military and putting them back in the closet does not align with American values.”
“Today Donald Trump has proven himself as unpatriotic as he is unfit to serve as Commander in Chief. He has put a target on the backs of the more than 15,000 transgender troops proudly serving in our military,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement. “This heinous and disgusting action endangers the lives of American service members, undermines military readiness and makes our country less safe. It is also the latest effort by Trump and Mike Pence to undo our progress and drag LGBTQ people back into the closet by using our lives as political pawns.”
Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, said “Trump cites no evidence or rationale in his tweets. Unfortunately, his pronouncement echoes similar excuses used to justify segregating African-Americans in the military, limiting the role of women, and forcing gay and lesbian service members to serve while hiding their sexual orientation, all policies that were eventually discredited and reversed. In fact, as Trump tweeted, it was the anniversary of the July 26, 1948 order by President Harry Truman ending official segregation in the military.”
Community members were also speaking out on social media.
“This is scapegoating,” said Das Janssen of Chicago. “The aim is to link our existence with the high cost of health care in the minds of people who don’t know anything about trans people or the care we require, except that we make them uncomfortable. The focus on ‘victory’ is particularly worrisome. What victory? Against whom?”
“Your excuses for the exclusions of trans men and trans women from our armed services are basically the same excuses for the exclusions of African Americans half a century ago, and the exclusions of women so much more recently, and the exclusions of our gay brothers and sisters even more recently,” Michael Mactep of Indiana posted. “The men and women who want to volunteer to serve their country deserve nothing less than the full throated support of this countries citizens, and the humble gratitude of its Commander in Chief. But instead… they get you.”
Brett Peugh of Champaign, Illinois, said, “When you are under fire no one around you cares what your gender is, they care if you can do your fucking job to make sure their ass comes home!”
“I was a part of the military before don’t ask don’t tell where you had to hide your sexuality, where the red light went off in the bar and the officers were escorted out of the back door to protect them from the SP raids,” said Daddy John of Chicago. “I am a retired Lt. Commander in the Navy and a decorated officer of a foreign war. THIS IS WRONG!”
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