Support Legislation to Protect Transgender Troops
Earlier this summer, Trump unexpectedly announced that the US military will no longer allow transgender troops to serve, claiming that these men and women "burden" the military. However, a Pentagon-commissioned, non-partisan study found that providing gender confirmation treatment to transgender service people would have a minimal effect on the military's combat readiness. The White House has given Defense Secretary Mattis 6 months to implement the ban, and despite media reports that Mattis has frozen implementation, Trump's initial order has continued. All current trans service members will be removed from the military and denied coverage for transition-related surgeries starting March 23, 2018. In an effort to more formally block the ban, Senators Gillibrand (D-NY), Collins (R-ME), Reed (D-RI) and McCain (R-AZ) introduced bipartisan legislation, S. 1820, that would prohibit the Pentagon from denying re-enlistment of currently serving transgender troops on the basis of their gender identity. It would also require Sec. Mattis to complete his previously announced study on the recruitment and training of transgender troops by the end of the year, a faster timeline than was given by the White House. In his statement of support, McCain said, “Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve — including those who are transgender." Congress must now act to protect these brave men and women who serve to protect our country."