The Trump administration's ban on
transgender troops takes effect Friday, nearly two years after
President Donald Trump first tweeted about it.
The new policy rolls back an Obama-era
policy. Under the new policy, most transgender individuals will not
be allowed to serve in the military, though current service members
will be grandfathered in, allowing them to serve openly.
In 2017, Trump tweeted that the
military “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve
in any capacity.” Trump later said that he was doing the military
“a great favor.”
Opponents of the ban filed a string of
lawsuits, blocking implementation of the policy. But in January, the
Supreme Court agreed to allow the ban to go into effect as the cases
On the eve of implementation, LGBT
rights groups denounced the ban.
“At this difficult moment for
transgender service members and those wishing to serve their country,
every transgender patriot should know that a grateful nation supports
you,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride. “The
Trump-Pence transgender troop ban is dangerous for both transgender
people and our national security, which is why a bipartisan chorus of
members of Congress, leading military experts and overwhelming
majorities of Americans oppose this despicable policy. The fact that
a service member who came out on Thursday can continue to serve
openly while a service member who comes out on Monday can’t only
reinforces the cruel and arbitrary nature of this ban.”
“This is a dark day for our nation's
military and the more than 13,000 brave transgender service members
who are putting their lives on the line to protect the freedoms we
hold so dear. It's morally wrong, it's unpatriotic, and make no
mistake - it's not just discriminatory, it is damaging. It
compromises readiness, good order, and discipline in our armed
forces.” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD.
“This systematic erasure by President
Trump and his administration is a national disgrace, and we will not
be silent, nor will we forget. Equality and acceptance are only made
possible when we speak up and fight back. We will continue to do just
that, no matter who is in the White House. And we will reverse this
discriminatory attack on our military,” she said.
According to the Pentagon, roughly
9,000 service members self-identify as transgender.