LOS ANGELES, July 26, 2017— In response to President Trump’s morning tweets banning transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military, Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean released the following statement:
“This morning the President of the United States tweeted that ‘The U.S. Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.’
“The President made this announcement acting on his own, without any evidence whatsoever, and contrary to the views of his own party leaders like John McCain and Orrin Hatch. In so doing, he has continued his erosion of America’s reputation as a leader in protecting human rights.
“Ironically, the Department of Defense had already decided to allow transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. What was the President’s purported reason for this shameful and outrageous change in policy? Medical costs and disruption.
“This is simply another in a long list of falsehoods perpetrated by this President. Not only is there absolutely no evidence for his claims, the evidence is exactly the opposite. It is contrary to the experience of the many nations that allow transgender people to serve openly in their militaries. Countries like Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, Australia, Spain, and more.
“President Trump’s despicable reversal of the Pentagon’s policy allowing transgender people to openly serve in the military is beneath contempt. He dehumanizes the very people who have pledged to risk their lives for our country and the values our nation stands for: freedom, liberty and justice.
“Our transgender brothers and sisters are Americans. They serve our country with honor and distinction, in spite of the very real discrimination they still face. We can and must do better.
“It is not enough for Republican Party leaders to issue statements against the President’s announcement. Republicans and Democrats alike must rise up across the country in opposition to a President who would take us back and impose discrimination and bigotry rather than upholding our Constitution’s promise of equality and justice for all.
“It should be lost on no one that this morning’s actions are just one piece of a concerted effort by this Administration to harm vulnerable and marginalized people. This effort includes ending health care for millions and the Attorney General’s threats to withhold federal funds from cities that protect the rights of undocumented people.
“Plus, sources have revealed that the Department of Justice—this very day—may be filing a brief in the Federal Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, arguing that LGBT people are NOT protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This President is turning the Department of Justice, which once argued FOR protections for LGBT people, into an institution that seeks to harm and undermine us.
“There is no longer any question about how this President and his Administration feel about LGBT people. They want to deny us equal protection of the law, they want to send us back into the closet, they want to stop us from occupying our rightful place as full and complete members of American society.
“They may harm us in the short term, but right is on our side for the long term. In the meantime, we will fight this policy reversal not only for our community, but for our country. We will continue to fight Trump’s attempts to attack and diminish LGBT people—which serves to diminish all Americans.”