Washington-- Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, claimed victory following the defeat of a hateful and cruel amendment proposed by Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) to the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would ban critical access to transition-related health care for military service members and their families. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 214-209 with 24 Republican “nay” votes.
“Today’s strong, bipartisan vote sent a resounding message of support for our military families and transgender service members,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This dangerous amendment would have put at risk the health and wellbeing of military families, and threatened military readiness and national security. We applaud those members from both parties who stood up for the thousands of transgender service members proudly serving their country.”
“I’m pleased the House rejected an amendment that would only serve to weaken our nation’s military readiness," said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). "Transgender service members put their lives on the line for our nation and our freedoms and the practical effect of these policies would have been to deny medically necessary treat to those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Our country should look forward, not backward, and promote inclusion in our armed forces and all other public institutions.”
In order to propagate her attacks, Rep. Hartzler used completely unsubstantiated figures to drastically inflate health care costs for transgender people. A RAND corporation
study commissioned by the Pentagon found cost increases for providing such medically necessary care are minimal.
According to the Williams Institute
, there are an estimated 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military. Thousands of transgender people have served with honor and distinction in our military, including the more than 134,000 transgender veterans
who are alive today. Transgender service members have risked their lives around the world, and the previous transgender military ban made them unable to be their authentic selves or seek the medical care they needed. This had negative implications for our nation’s military readiness. A service member who is able to be open and honest about their gender identity and receive appropriate care is more productive and focused on the mission.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.