This Bill Could Block Trump’s Terrible Trans Military Ban

Three senators just introduced new legislation to Congress that would end President Trump’s heavily criticized trans military ban.

U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Susan Collins, and Jack Reed introduced the legislation—known as S.373 or ”A bill to provide for the retention and service of transgender individuals in the Armed Forces”—on February 7 in the Senate. The legislation is designed to protect all current and future trans service personnel by expressly prohibiting the Department of Defense from forcing out trans servicemembers based solely on gender identity.

President Trump announced in 2017 via Twitter that the US Armed Services would no longer “accept or allow” trans people, saying they created “tremendous medical costs and disruption”. This drew fierce criticism on both the left and the right for the way in which it not only attacked trans service members but how it also created instability in the military.

At the time, military officials said they would not enact such a ban, but since that time Trump and, more accurately, those within the White House who have pressed for this ban have sought ways to enforce it.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-California) also introduced this latest legislative push against the ban in the US House under the title H.R.1032. Both bills come on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court voting down party lines to overrule the lower courts that had blocked President Trump’s trans military ban from going into effect while the ban’s constitutionality was argued in the courts. While not a definitive word on whether the ban would find a sympathetic ear in the Supreme Court, it would be unusual for the court to allow such a ban to stand if it believed it had zero chance of being affirmed by the Court itself.

Essentially, then, this legislation hopes to head off that possibility at the pass by preventing this harmful ban from continuing.

“President Trump’s ban on transgender service members is discrimination, it undermines our military readiness, and it is an insult to the brave and patriotic transgender Americans who choose to serve in our military,” Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Personnel, says in a press statement. ”The heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have all testified to Congress that transgender service members are serving in our military without any problems. We should end this discriminatory ban for good and ensure our transgender service members can continue to do their jobs, serve with dignity, and protect our country. That’s what our legislation would do, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to fight with me to overturn the President’s cruel and unnecessary ban, respect the transgender troops who are willing to die for our country, and pass this bipartisan bill now.”

The legislation is garnering cross party support from moderate and military-supporting Republicans alike, with co-sponsor Senator Collins saying, ”As one of the leaders in the successful effort to repeal the military’s discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, I strongly believe that anyone who is qualified, able to be deployed into war zones, and wants to serve should continue to be allowed to do so, including our transgender troops. If individuals are willing to put on the uniform of our country and risk their lives for our freedoms, then we should be expressing our gratitude to them, not trying to kick them out of the military.”

The late Senator John McCain, who once backed a similar ban on gay service members, was a fierce critic of President Trump’s trans military ban, because it ignores correct procedure and the working group studies that were meant to gather information on trans enlistment.

McCain also categorically came out against forcing out current trans servicemembers, saying that it was deleterious to unit cohesion and readiness. His unusual intervention against Trump was one of his last major acts before his death, and it appears to have left a defining mark on the party, possibly even helping several high profile Republicans to reject the ban.

Currently, the Military is allowing trans service members who have completed their medical transition and those who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria prior to the ban to keep serving and receive maintenance care. Enforcement appears to rely on the discretion of commanding officers, however, something that is creating further uncertainty and stress for trans service personnel. Per a 2018 policy by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, new recruits can only serve based on their birth-determined sex.

At its heart, Senator Gillibrand’s new legislation recognizes that trans service personnel are meeting every standard of fitness that military has set. Their medical care has also proved to cost only a fraction of the military healthcare spending budget, while experts have affirmed their physical and mental capability both inside the military and independently.

There is no good reason to keep trans service personnel out of the military. The media is already writing-off this new legislative attempt, saying it will never pass in the Senate. But Senators serve the people, and they need to hear that the American public see Trump’s trans military ban for what it is: a terrible act of prejudice that puts bias ahead of military cohesion.

Take Action!

Sign the Care2 petition today and tell the US Senate to pass Senator Gillibrand’s legislation to retain trans troops.

If you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. Youll find Care2s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

 

Photo credit: Getty Images.

37 comments

Sophie A
Sophie A7 days ago

tyfs

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Coo R
Coo R7 days ago

Trans people have been serving in my country's military for over 20yrs.

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Kevin B
Kevin B15 days ago

signed

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Mia B
Mia B21 days ago

thank you

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Greta L
Greta L22 days ago

thanks for posting

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Leo C
Leo C25 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Janis K
Janis Kabout a month ago

Signed

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Elaine W
Elaine Wabout a month ago

tRump's ignorance in this matter is harmful to us all.

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silja s
silja salonenabout a month ago

feckless wanker and his minion of tossers

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Joan E
Joan Eabout a month ago

Irene, I am not keen to join the army either. Some people sign up when they are teens whose mothers don't want them to go but they naively think it will be exciting and brave. Others join because they can't afford college and this is a way to learn job skills. Some trans people join to prove their strength and heroism when other people doubt them because they are trans. And they meet other people like themselves there. At least they do now. As usual, I believe Trump is wrong.

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