By Valeria Bula
A week since Trump sent out a series of Tweets that sent shock waves across members and supporters of the LGBTQ community.
Going not only against his campaign promises, Trump’s declaration is also one that goes against a previous executive order made a little over a year ago by former president Barack Obama, sparking a sudden reversal of policy which allowed openly transgender people to serve in the military.
President Trump’s Wednesday Twitter announcement barring transgender people from serving in the military was a decree not met lightly by many.
The attack against transgender people came after two transgender cadets – one at West Point, another at the Air Force Academy – were denied their commissions in May 2017 due to a loophole found in the Pentagon’s transgender policy. Brad Carson, writer of the policy and undersecretary of defense under President Obama said he intended for the policy to cover all academy personnel likewise to active duty service members because “they’re already in the military.”
In June 27, Jim Mattis, Trump’s defense secretary delayed a plan that would allow transgender recruits to join the military in order to allow service leaders to “review their accession plans and provide input” on the effect the transgender recruits would have on the “readiness and lethality” of the armed forces.
Later on in early July, the House narrowly rejected a bill that would have stopped the Pentagon from funding gender transition and hormone therapy. Then, on July 26, Trump swiftly reversed what had been ushered by the Obama Administration. Although stating in his tweets he had consulted various generals and military experts, secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, was only given a day’s notice of this decision.
Trump chose to announce the ban in order to qualm the ongoing dispute in Capitol Hill over whether or not taxpayer money should be allocated towards aiding in paying gender transition and hormone therapy for transgender service members.
The announcement was given with such haste, however, that White House representatives were unable to provide any information as to how it will be carried out and what will become of the current active duty transgender military members.
“That’s something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said.
However, civil rights and transgender advocacy groups were quick to the denounce the policy, many vowing to even challenge it in court, as well as a NYT letter written by Chelsea Manning displaying her disagreement.
“Democrats need to show — and can show — that they can simultaneously fight for a society that is both more fair and more prosperous — and drive home the fact that Trump is delivering neither,” long-time Democratic strategist Ron Klain said in an email.
Political figures also went against Trump’s ban, including: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand vowed to introduce legislation to overturn it; California Sen. Kamala Harris called it “discriminatory, wrong, and un-American.” Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted that “patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve.” as well as several other members of Congress, including republicans.