5 Blistering Responses to Trump’s Trans Military Ban

Since President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he was rolling back President Obama’s work to ensure open service for trans service members, the general public has displayed reactions ranging from disbelief to outrage.

Here are just a handful of responses from military officials, lawmakers and LGBTQIA advocacy groups – all of which seem to agree that President Trump has severely overstepped his authority in moving to unilaterally eliminate trans military service.

1. Military officials say no change to trans policy for now

Less than a day after President Trump announced the ban on trans service, several military officials released statements that appeared designed to correct Trump’s belief that this decision is within his power.

Politico reports:

Marine Gen. Joe Dunford also told the chiefs of the military branches and senior enlisted leaders that the military will continue to “treat all of our personnel with respect.”

“I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President,” Dunford wrote in the internal communication. “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.”

Dunford’s message was seconded later in the day by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ chief spokeswoman.

“The Department of Defense is awaiting formal guidance from the White House as a follow-up to the Commander-in-Chief’s announcement on military service by transgender personnel,” Dana White said. “We will provide detailed guidance to the Department in the near future for how this policy change will be implemented.

Other military officials have expressed veiled disquiet over the fact that President Trump threw out protocol when he took to Twitter to announce this change on Wednesday. Indeed, while Trump claims to have consulted with generals and military advisers, most of the military’s top brass seem entirely caught off guard by this announcement

2. Senator John McCain calls Trump’s actions into question

War veteran and high-profile Senate member John McCain appeared to rebuke the president — both in terms of this policy change and the manner in which it was announced:

The (president’s) statement was unclear. The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving.

Mr McCain also stated that this was “yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter”.

While McCain has resisted past attempts at LGBT military integration, he has been clear that he supports the military’s working group studies and the process involved in deciding military service rules.

The military’s own studies have concluded that trans service is not a burden. The only challenge has been in deciding how best to house trans personnel in a manner that best safeguards them.

That President Trump appeared to circumvent the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense and the military as a whole will not sit well with McCain or, indeed, many Republicans who hold the military in great esteem.

Similarly, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have continued to speak out since President Trump announced this  sweeping ban.

3. LGBT organizations denounce this attack on trans people

“Today Donald Trump has proven himself as unpatriotic as he is unfit to serve as Commander in Chief. He has put a target on the backs of the more than 15,000 transgender troops proudly serving in our military,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin explained in a statement.

The LGBTQ Task Force’s Advocacy and Action organizer Camden Hargrove, echoed this outrage, stating,

As a black transgender man who considered military service, Trump’s tweets appalled and astonished me. There is no way for me to not draw parallels between racial segregation in the military and this discrimination against transgender service members. Trump’s attempts today to divide the military is especially ironic considering that today is the anniversary of President Truman issuing his 1948 Executive Order ordering the racial desegregation of the military.

4. Trans veterans claim Trump has a leadership problem

Kristin Beck, believed to be the first former Navy SEAL to publicly come out as transgender, told Buzzfeed that the claim of high integration costs – already disproved by the military’s own figures – was just an excuse for the president’s own failings: ”Medical costs for transgender people are the equivalent of one price of one wheel of a fighter…it’s a leadership problem, take care of your people.”

Other veterans emphasized that they gave up their youth and put their lives on the line for the military, making this treatment unacceptable.

5. Civil rights groups are ‘ready to defend’ trans service members

The legal questions raised by President Trump’s statements present a key concern for many — especially those currently serving in the military. Lambda Legal, among other legal groups, has encouraged any trans personnel with questions or concerns to seek their guidance.

In the meantime, ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangio insists that the group is ready to support trans service members:

This is not about cost. This is not about readiness or a strong military. Today’s announcement is about targeting, demonizing, and endangering a group of people who are risking their lives every day for our country. To the thousands of trans people currently serving in the military and to the thousands more who love and support them, we will not stop fighting. If the military reverses its existing policies protecting trans service members in response to the president’s tweets, the ACLU is ready to act.

Take Action!

Over 28,000 people have signed our Care2 petition calling on Trump to reverse his unworkable and unethical ban on trans service members. Add your voice today, and support trans troops who serve the United States at home and abroad.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.


Marie W
Marie W10 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

Ian C
Ian Crory4 months ago


Margie F
Margie FOURIE5 months ago

Thank you

Karen H
Karen H5 months ago

At least they're willing to serve, unlike our "supreme leader", who got 5 deferments so he wouldn't have to serve.

Hannah B
Hannah B5 months ago

Glad to hear that military officials aren't immediately playing into this garbage. Those who serve deserve respect regardless of gender.

Fred C
Fred Campbell5 months ago

Thanks for presenting these opinions.

Carl R
Carl R5 months ago


Elaine W
Elaine W5 months ago

T-Rump is an impulsive disaster. I think he lied about the "consult" with His generals. Maybe his tin soldier action figure toys in his dreams.

heather g
heather g5 months ago

I hope the top brass in the military are not Republicans. Even if they are, they need all the people who serve in the military.

Lisa M
Lisa M5 months ago