WASHINGTON - [On July 26], the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, marked one year since Donald Trump's spurious and hateful tweets announcing a ban on transgender troops on July 26, 2017. In the year since the tweets, the HRC has fought beside transgender service members and partner organizations in Karnoski v. Trump, the federal lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN to oppose this president's discriminatory policy in the courts, on the streets, and in the media.
'One year ago, thousands of transgender service members and countless more potential recruits found their worlds turned upside down,' said HRC President Chad Griffin. 'Despite Donald Trump and Mike Pence's hateful efforts, brave transgender troops continue to demonstrate both their love of country and ability to serve. A grateful nation respects their service even if the commander-in-chief fails to do so, and the Human Rights Campaign will not rest until we ensure that every transgender person is treated with respect and fairness.'
'From day one of this administration, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have sought to license discrimination against the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people,' said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride. 'Donald Trump and Mike Pence's despicable attempt to mandate discrimination in our military, America's largest employer, is part of a broader effort to push transgender people back into the shadows and out of public life. From the bipartisan chorus of members of Congress to leading medical associations to several federal courts, every passing day we see further proof that this president's policy is animus-fueled, dangerous, and unconstitutional.'
'After the tweetban was issued, Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN flew into action. We promised we would take action if the policy was enacted, and we did,' said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Sasha Buchert. 'Today, I think it's also important to underscore another anniversary: that day just over two years ago when the ban on open transgender military service was lifted. The only thing that has happened as a result of allowing open transgender military service is that transgender service members are serving our country with honor, dignity, and distinction.'
Following Trump's initial tweets, the HRC joined six currently serving members of the armed services, three individuals who seek to enlist, the American Military Partners Association (AMPA), and Washington State's Gender Justice League as co-plaintiffs in Karnoski v. Trump, one of four federal lawsuits filed challenging the ban. Since then, seven federal courts - including, most recently, the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit - have barred the Trump-Pence administration from implementing the ban.
Despite the string of court victories for transgender troops and recruits, the Trump-Pence administration has continued to appeal the rulings in an effort to force their extreme anti-LGBTQ agenda on the US military.
Yesterday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), a member of the US Senate Armed Services Committee and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking member of the US House Armed Services Committee, joined representatives from the HRC, Lambda Legal, Outserve-SLDN, and AMPA for a press call on the current state of the ban. An audio recording of the press call can be found here.
[On July 26], members of Congress will utilize Donald Trump's social media platform of choice, Twitter, for a 'tweet-up' organized by the HRC and Lambda Legal. Participants will show their support for transgender troops on Twitter beginning at 11 a.m. by utilizing #TransBanTweetUp.
Since the president's initial tweets, a diverse range of voices has opposed banning transgender people from serving in the military. Thirty-three former national security experts and military leaders, the American Medical Association, and the NAACP filed briefs in support the cases filed to halt the Trump-Pence ban.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and John McCain (R-AZ), have stated their support for transgender troops. In March, the HRC, Lambda Legal, Outserve-SLDN, AMPA, and the Gender Justice League unveiled a television ad titled 'Patriots,' featuring many of those voices speaking out against the policy.
To learn more about the HRC's work on transgender equality, visit hrc.org/transgender.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.
Courtesy of the HRC
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