Family Equality Council Responds to Trump’s Attack on Transgender Service Members

“Today’s statement from the President endangers the lives and livelihoods of thousands of service members, threatens military readiness, and shows a shocking lack of respect for service members from our nation’s Commander in Chief.”

For Immediate Release — July 26, 2017

NEW YORK — Today, President Trump issued a series of tweets attacking transgender members of the military, stating “The United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to service in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” Family Equality Council unequivocally condemns this direct assault on the brave and honorable service of over 15,000 transgender service members in the U.S. military.

The position described in Trump’s tweets represents a dramatic and dangerous reversal of policy, and runs counter to the best advice of military leadership. Secretary of Defense Mattis himself has advocated for retaining current policy, both during his confirmation hearing and in response to a recent, failed, attempt by Members of Congress to restrict healthcare access for transgender service members. Indeed, Trump’s tweets today raise questions about whether military leadership were even advised or consulted prior to this apparent reversal of policy.

Responding today, Family Equality Council’s Chief Policy Officer Denise Brogan-Kator said “As a US Submarine veteran, who happens to be transgender, I know that the transgender Americans currently serving their country and putting their lives on the line everyday, do so out of a deep respect and love for this nation. This is a hateful attack against brave sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen by their Commander-in-Chief. He continues to sink lower and lower and never seems to find bottom.”

Family Equality Council CEO Rev. Stan J. Sloansaid “Transgender people have served with bravery and honor in the U.S. military throughout history. Today’s statement from the President endangers the lives and livelihoods of thousands of service members, threatens military readiness, and shows a shocking lack of respect for service members from our nation’s Commander in Chief.”

Data provided by the Williams Institute indicate that there are an estimated 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, National Guard, and reserves. Thousands more transgender people have served with honor in past decades, including over 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today. The debate around repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, and the debate around permitting open, transgender service both made clear that allowing open service by LGBTQ individuals strengthens the military and reinforces core values of dignity, fairness, and equal treatment. Family Equality Council stands by transgender service members and their families in opposing this discriminatory, damaging attack on the transgender community.

About Family Equality Council

Family Equality Council connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer in this country today and their six million children of all ages. We are changing attitudes and policies to ensure that all families are respected, loved, and celebrated — including families with parents who are LGBTQ. We are a community of parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren and unattached youth that reaches across this country. For almost forty years we have raised our children and raised our voices toward fairness for all families. As we look to the next chapter of our work, we are also focused on LGBTQ youth needing families and the two million LGBTQ adults waiting to foster or adopt in our country.