WASHINGTON -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, slammed Donald Trump for refusing to support the Obama Administration’s decision to finally end the ban on transgender Americans serving openly in our military. When asked this morning about transgender military service Trump said, “We’re going to get away from political correctness.”
“Allowing transgender people to serve their country isn’t about politics, it’s about extending them the respect and dignity every service member deserves. This is yet another example of the grave threat that Donald Trump and Mike Pence pose to LGBTQ Americans,” said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown. “Working for years with senior members of the military, the Secretary of Defense rightly ended a discriminatory policy this year, bringing long-overdue recognition to transgender service members, strengthening our military and our nation. Just like Mike Pence’s record defending the discriminatory, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Donald Trump’s comments today are a reminder that he puts at risk all the gains made by the LGBTQ community over the last eight years.”
In addition to the United States, 18 other nations, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Israel, already allow transgender people to serve openly in their militaries.
In addition to his opposition to transgender people serving openly in the military, the Trump-Pence campaign’s anti-LGBTQ platform includes: a vow to reverse nationwide marriage equality, support for North Carolina’s dangerous and vile HB2, and support for the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would enable Kim Davis-style discrimination in our federal government. Trump has also expressed support for repealing President Obama’s executive orders, meaning the executive order protecting LGBTQ employees working for federal contractors is at risk.
As a member of Congress, Mike Pence opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” by saying it would turn the military into “a backdrop for social experimentation."
According to the Williams Institute, there are approximately 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, making the Department of Defense (DoD) the largest employer of transgender people in America. These courageous men and women were forced to serve in silence by out-of-date and medically out-of step regulations prohibiting their service and requiring their separation from the military if discovered.
Unlike the statutory ban that interfered with lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members from serving (known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”), the ban on transgender military service was just policy and required only action by the DoD to update. That action could be reversed by a Trump administration.
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump attacked, belittled and maligned anyone and everyone he considers different. That includes the LGBTQ community, which is as diverse as our nation, and includes women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, people living with disabilities, asylum seekers and others Trump has attacked for political gain.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.
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