In an early morning tweetstorm, President Donald Trump issued a statement banning transgender people from serving in the military. It's a sharp contrast from Trump's message to LGBTQ Americans during the 2016 campaign, when he tweeted that he "would fight for them."
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
It's unclear what this means for the thousands of trans individuals already serving in the military. The Pentagon is referring all comment to the White House; General James Mattis -- who previously delayed a decision on allowing transgender people to enlist -- is reportedly on vacation this week.
Trump's "official statement" (a grammatically sloppy tweetstorm that will undoubtably be challenged in court) follows on the footsteps of the House of Representatives defeat to a proposal that would have banned DOD funding for gender-confirming surgery for service members. Vice President Pence is reportedly looking for ways to bring the ban back to the House floor.
Trump has repeatedly said he'll champion the health needs of veterans and service people during his Presidency. His tweets today suggest the health needs of some service members will fall by the wayside.
NUVO reached out to the ACLU of Indiana for a comment on the matter. You can read their full response below.
In 2017 it's shocking that the President of the United States is unwilling to accept the fact that all Americans should be able to serve in the military regardless of their gender.
"Transgender military members are brave Americans who are selflessly protecting our freedoms," says Kit Malone, Transgender Educator and Advocate with the ACLU of Indiana. "There is no basis for turning away transgender people from military service, and there is no cost or drawback associated with allowing them to serve."
Recent studies show that about one-fifth of all transgender adults are veterans, making transgender people approximately twice as likely as others to serve in the military.
"We have come to understand that basic equality, as expressed by equal protection, guarantees everyone equal rights," says Ken Falk, Legal Director of the ACLU of Indiana. "For the President to take this step against people who serve America is shockingly regressive."
We stand with all transgender military members and want to hear from you. If you are transgender and have experienced discrimination please contact us.
We're celebrating a host of excellent people tonight at Centerpoint Brewing, including Lifetime Achievement Award winner Betty Cockrum, outgoing CEO and President of PPINK.
Note: NUVO awarded Eskenazi's Trans Health Clinic with Cultural Vision Award in June because of their tireless work to get transgender individuals the care and affirmation they deserve.