Today, HRC responded to the U.S. House passage of an amendment that would codify non-discrimination protections in the military and end the ban on transgender military service.
“Transgender troops have served openly with distinction for years, and they and their fellow service members deserve nothing less than the respect of a grateful nation,” says Sarah McBride, HRC National Press Secretary. “The Trump-Pence administration’s trans troop ban goes against medical experts, military leadership and budget analysts; it is unsound, unpopular, and unpatriotic. We are grateful to Congresswoman Speier and the strong, bipartisan majority of the House who voted for this amendment to ensure all transgender military service members have equal non-discrimination protections.”
Offered by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 would codify the military’s existing equal opportunity policies to include non-discrimination protections on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. Passage of the amendment now included in the defense authorization bill would reverse the Trump-Pence administration’s ban on transgender military service.
Despite the string of court victories for transgender troops and recruits in federal district and circuit courts, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the preliminary injunctions that had been blocking the Trump-Pence administration from implementing their discriminatory ban. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it would begin discharging openly transgender service members who come out after April 12, 2019, beginning discrimination against transgender service members even as several cases continue to make their way through the courts.
A diverse range of voices have opposed banning transgender people from serving in the military. Thirty-three former national security experts and military leaders, the American Medical Association and the NAACP filed briefs in support of the cases filed to halt the Trump-Pence ban. In testimony before Congress, all four service branch chiefs stated that open service for transgender patriots had not inhibited military readiness or unit cohesion.