US President Donald Trump has announced on Twitter that transgender service members would be prohibited from serving “in any capacity” in the US military.
Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: “After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
In 2011, the US military lifted the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay troops openly discussing their sexuality, and in June 2016, the Pentagon announced trans personnel would no longer be barred from serving openly.
The New York Times reported Trump’s announcement was sudden and took many officials by surprise.
The National Council for Transgender Equality said around 15,000 trans people are currently serving in the US military and the ban is “indefensible and cannot stand.”
“This is worse than ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ this is ‘Don’t serve, don’t serve,’” the organisation’s director Mara Keisling said.
“This is an appalling attack on our service members; it is about bigotry rather than military readiness, reason or science.
“To turn away qualified recruits simply because of who they are is a shameful way to show our country’s gratitude to the people who serve our country.”
Donald Trump’s trans military ban slammed by LGBTIQ community
US President Donald Trump’s announcement was also met with a wave of condemnation on social media.
Australian transgender woman Cate McGregor, who is the most senior trans person to serve in the Australian Defence Force, said all willing and able people should be allowed to serve in the military.
“Like many others I served effectively before and after transition. In a free society, any suitably qualified citizen who is willing and able should be allowed to serve in the military,” she tweeted.
“Not surprising from a man who never served, but sneered at John McCain’s heroism and disparaged a Gold Star family.”
Transgender woman Caitlyn Jenner also hit out at the decision, tweeting: “There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the US military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?”
Ellen DeGeneres tweeted: “We should be grateful to the people who wish to serve, not turn our backs on them. Banning transgender people is hurtful, baseless and wrong.
“We’re spreading hate instead of love in our country today.”
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