HRC responded to a vote on Friday by the Republican National Committee to support Donald Trump’s unconstitutional ban on transgender service members in the military.
“Transgender members of the military are serving their country with effectiveness and honor,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director. “The RNC’s statement is a disgusting attack on thousands of brave transgender service members and the armed services as a whole. It goes against the expert opinions of the medical and military communities in addition to flying in the face of supportive statements offered by at least 20 Republican lawmakers. As every federal court ruling to date has confirmed: this ban is unconstitutional. We will continue to fight for, and win, the right of every qualified person to serve the country they love.”
The RNC’s statement conflicts with the overwhelming evidence supporting transgender service members.
In July, the American Medical Association said: “There is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service. Transgender individuals are serving their country with honor, and they should be allowed to continue doing so.”
The American Psychological Association concurred: “We’ve seen no scientific evidence that allowing transgender people to serve in the armed forces has had an adverse impact on our military readiness or unit cohesion. Therefore, we ask that transgender individuals continue to be allowed to serve their country.”
In August, a group of 56 retired generals and admirals in a letter released by The Palm Center condemned the Trump-Pence ban on transgender service members, stating: “The proposed ban would degrade readiness even more than the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Patriotic transgender Americans who are serving—and who want to serve—must not be dismissed, deprived of medically necessary health care, or forced to compromise their integrity or hide their identity.”
Last year, 20 Republican members of Congress expressed support for transgender service members. Their statements include the following:
“When less than one percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country. Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve—including those who are transgender.” -- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, retired Naval officer, and former POW
“I don’t think we should be discriminating against anyone. Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them.” -- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
“Our armed forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country,” said Senator Collins. “If individuals are willing to put on the uniform of our country, be deployed in war zones, and risk their lives for our freedoms, then we should be expressing our gratitude to them, not trying to kick them out of the military.” -- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
“She believes what is most important is making sure service members can meet the physical training standards, and the willingness to defend our freedoms and way of life,’ Ernst spokeswoman Brook Hougesen wrote in an email to the Register.” -- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), retired Army officer
“Removing thousands of men and women from admirably and honorably serving is counterintuitive to strengthening our military. I have serious concerns about what this new directive means for current active duty and reserve transgender members of our Armed Forces and National Guard. I expect Defense Secretary Mattis to provide clarity on this issue and determine what is in the best interest of military readiness to protect our nation.” -- Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
The Human Rights Campaign has always fought for the right of LGBTQ people to serve in our Armed Forces and will continue that fight.