“Today is a watershed moment in the fight to celebrate and protect open transgender military service.”
The House of Representatives just passed an amendment to reverse President Donald Tr*mp’s barbaric, homophobic policy that would ban transgender people from serving in the military.
The amendment to the National Defense Authorization would put protections in place under law that state anyone who meets gender-neutral occupational standards can serve in the forces regardless of race, sexuality, religion or gender identity.
Executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, said in a statement: “This is a crucial moment for our elected officials to bring accountability to a reckless and lawless policy.
“This bigoted ban has brought chaos to prospective recruits, active duty service members, and countless families forced to watch their dedication and duty soiled by a self-interested President.
“The military wants and needs qualified transgender people, and we applaud this action by the House to ensure that every person willing and able to serve is allowed to serve.
“It will now be up to the Conference Committee and the President whether to embrace equal opportunity or discrimination.”
Jackie Speier, the amendment’s sponsor and U.S. Representative for California’s 14th congressional district, said this is a “watershed moment in the fight to celebrate and protect open transgender military service.”
HRC national press secretary, Sarah McBride, also commented: “The Trump-Pence administration’s trans troop ban goes against medical experts, military leadership and budget analysts; it is unsound, unpopular and unpatriotic.”
It comes just a month after the House voted to block the Pentagon from accessing funds that will implement the ban.
Representative Anthony Brown, a Democrat from Maryland who once served in the U.S. army, delivered a passionate speech on 18 June in which he championed for the trans community to rightfully serve their country.
“The President and his administration wrongfully argue that it’s about military readiness and unit cohesion, but these arguments are the same ones that were made to keep the military racially segregated,” he said during the debate.
“My service in an integrated armed forces did not harm readiness, and neither does the service of the more than 14,000 transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Transgender service members increase lethality, readiness.”
He continued: “They have served honorably and have received prestigious commendations.”
Californian Republican, Ken Calvert, opposed the decision and said it “risks undermining the readiness of our military at a time when we can least afford it” and argued that the policy is not a ban on service by transgender individuals.
“It carefully balances the readiness needs of the military with the medical needs of transgender individuals who wish to serve.”
The President of the United States first took to Twitter in 2017 to announce that anyone who identifies as trans will no longer be allowed to serve their country, citing “tremendous medical costs” and “disruption” by trans individuals.