HRC: Congress Must Pass Speier Amendment, Protect Trans Troops

by HRC Staff

HRC calls on Congress to pass an appropriations amendment that would prevent further implementation of Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military.

Today, HRC calls on Congress to pass an appropriations amendment introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) that would prevent further implementation of Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military by eliminating funding for it.

“Transgender troops have served openly with distinction for years,” says Sarah McBride, HRC National Press Secretary. “The Trump administration’s ban on transgender troops goes against medical experts, military leadership, budget analysts, 70% of the American people, and the U.S. House, who passed a resolution in March condemning Trump’s attacks on transgender service members. We are thankful to Congresswoman Speier for her leadership on this amendment and call upon her colleagues to join her in passing it.”

Following Donald Trump’s initial tweets announcing his intention to ban qualified transgender people from serving in the military, HRC joined six active members of the armed services, two individuals seeking to enlist, the Modern Military Association of America and Washington state’s Gender Justice League as co-plaintiffs in Karnoski v. Trump, one of four federal lawsuits filed challenging the ban.

Despite the string of court victories for transgender troops and recruits in federal district and circuit courts, the U.S. Supreme Court recently stayed the preliminary injunctions that had been blocking the Trump-Pence administration from implementing their discriminatory ban. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that they would begin discharging openly transgender service members who come out after April 12, 2019, beginning the 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 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.

In March, the U.S. House of Representatives, in a bipartisan vote led by U.S. Representative Joseph Kennedy, III (D-MA), passed a resolution condemning the ban.

That same month, former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen (ret.), penned a powerful piece supporting open service for transgender troops and opposing the administration’s arbitrary and animus-fueled policy.