One hundred and forty three House
Democrats are calling on President Donald Trump to reconsider his
plan to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.
The effort is being led by Virginia
Rep. A. Donald McEachin.
On Friday, roughly a month after the
president called for completely barring transgender people from
serving in the military, the White House issued guidance on
implementing Trump's ban.
Trump's guidance directs the military
to bar transgender people from entering the military and to stop
paying for the transition-related health care of active duty
transgender troops, but stops short of banning transgender troops,
leaving the decision of what the military should do about active-duty
transgender troops to military leaders.
directs Pentagon to ban transgender recruits.)
In his memo, Trump claims that the
Obama administration “failed to identity a sufficient basis” to
end the military ban – which was rolled back in June, 2016 – and
orders the Pentagon to reinstate the policy, arguing that transgender
people are a “disruption” to the military.
“Contrary to your rhetoric, their
service has not caused 'disruption' or 'burdened' the military,”
members said in their letter. “Rather, their sacrifices have
made our nation safer and stronger. Transgender servicemembers wear
the same uniform and complete the same missions as their cisgender
peers. In combat, their lives are in equal peril. They serve with
equal distinction; they are equally deserving of our gratitude and
The Democrats also argue that Trump's
ban is legally “indefensible.” Three
lawsuits challenging the ban have been filed.
“We are deeply concerned about the
clear unconstitutionality of your ban,” the letter states. “As
existing case law makes clear, the government cannot discriminate
against transgender people on the basis of their status or sex –
and the military is not exempt from constitutional requirements. It
is not clear to us that your administration has reckoned with these