The House of Representatives, in a bipartisan move, passed a plan yesterday that would overturn Trump’s trans service ban on military service for trans individuals. The measure was introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier of California as an amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and includes equal opportunity protections for anyone who meets the service criteria, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The trans service ban was put into place earlier this year after the Supreme Court ruled that the administration could implement the policy during litigation challenging the restriction. The Department of Defense announced that it would discharge openly transgender service members who come out after April 12, 2019. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, around 15,000 transgender people were active duty members of the military when the ban was enacted, and the Department of Defense has not released numbers showing how many of those troops have been affected.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, spoke of in support of the provision.
“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 servicemembers, and countless families forced to watch their dedication and duty soiled by a self-interested President,” Keisling said. “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.”
“Transgender troops have served openly with distinction for years, and they and their fellow service members deserve nothing less than the respect of a grateful nation,” said Sarah McBride of the Human Rights Campaign. “The Trump-Pence administration’s trans troop ban goes against medical experts, military leadership and budget analysts; it is unsound, unpopular, and unpatriotic.”