Statement on President Trump’s Ban on Trans People in the Military

Out Leadership has condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

“President Trump is playing politics with people’s lives, and the courageous transgender soldiers who serve this country deserve better,” said Todd Sears, Founder and Principal of Out Leadership. “The policy the President announced today will harm trans people and our armed forces, and represents yet another betrayal of his campaign pledge to be a ‘friend’ to LGBT+ people.”

Up to 15,000 trans people currently serve in the military. Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban on trans troops in June 2016.

At that time, Secretary Carter noted: “The Department of Defense needs to avail ourselves of all talent possible, in order to remain what we are now: the finest fighting force the world has ever known. Our mission is to defend this country. And we don’t want barriers unrelated to a person’s qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who can best accomplish the mission.”

“It’s particularly sad, and ironic, that President Trump announced this about-face on the 69th anniversary of President Truman’s integration of the military,” Sears continued.

“During the debate over ’Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ supporters of the ban argued that allowing gay service members to serve openly would create disruption and threaten unit cohesion,” Sears said. “But that didn’t happen – studies have demonstrated that integrating gay people into the military had no negative impact on morale, recruitment, or unit cohesion. Forcing out the thousands of trans people who currently serve, and preventing qualified trans people from considering service, is shortsighted, nakedly political, and discriminatory. But that’s par for the course from this administration.”