One year after Trump tweeted he'd ban transgender troops, the fight to stop him continues
One year ago, President Trump used Twitter to announce a ban on transgender troops. Today, the fight to protect transgender service people is still very much alive.
LGBTQ civil rights organizations and activists across social media are using the hashtag #TransBanTweetUp on Thursday to get people talking about Trump's continued attempts to bar transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. Led by Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal, the campaign makes strategic use of the president's favorite social media platform to bolster support for transgender troops.
The hashtag is not celebratory so much as strategic: It's meant to carve out a space in the large swath of Trump controversies and bring focus to what remains a strenuous battle.
This past March, the Trump administration tried once again to bar transgender people from enlisting in the military, after the first ban — which stemmed from Trump's tweets — was ruled unconstitutional in seven separate federal courts. The March ban would not discharge currently serving transgender people. It would, however, bar any new transgender person from enlisting, unless they agreed to serve in the sex they were assigned at birth.
Again, the courts ruled this policy unconstitutional and it failed to go into effect.
The Department of Defense, in its recommendation to Trump regarding how the ban should be enforced, also threatened to discharge currently serving transgender military members if the courts utilized their continued service as proof that transgender people are fit to enlist.
Despite the court rulings, many transgender people report continued difficulty enlisting. For example, SPART*A, an association of LGBTQ recruits, troops, and veterans, claims only 2 out of 140 members trying to enlist have made it into the military, according to the New York Times.
"What people need to know is that Trump-Pence administration is trying every which way to create a hostile work environment for transgender people in the military" explained Sarah McBride, HRC's national secretary, "they are banning coverage for transition related care for trans troops, holding the threat of discharge over their heads should a court try to utilize their service to demonstrate their fitness, and just being generally demeaning and disrespecting their service by saying trans folks are unfit when they clearly aren't."
By: Soraya Ferdman
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