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After President Donald Trump rescinded an initial memo on transgender military service in lieu of a new order banning those with “gender dysphoria” from serving, several lawmakers, legal advocates and retired military officials weighed in to oppose the measure.

According to a statement from the White House press office, the new policy was implemented after an extensive study from military and civilian leaders. “On the advice of these experts, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security have concluded that the accession or retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria—those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery—presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality,” the statement reads.

The new rule, however, has sparked backlash from transgendered advocates, and was rebuked by lawmakers in the House of Representative, who passed a resolution in opposition to the policy.

House of Representatives Passes Reso. 124

Reps. Jennifer Wexton and Joe Kennedy spoke at a press event after the House voted to pass Resolution 124 in opposition to the president’s newly enacted ban. "Not a single transgender soldier, willing to put their life on the line for our freedoms, should be forced to hide who they are in order to serve this country," said Wexton. "We can and must do better for these soldiers. I’m glad today’s resolution passed the House, but this is just the first step. We will not quit this fight until this discriminatory ban is ended."

Wexton cited recent poll findings from the Public Religion Research Institute that found 64% of those surveyed are in favor of allowing transgendered people to serve in the military. Further, in 2017, a number of retired military officials signed onto a letter warning against anti-transgendered military policies.

From Twitter: Rep. Jennifer Wexton (@RepWexton)

"I'm in this fight because transgender people are my friends and family. And guess what? Transgender Americans are your friends and family, too. Today's vote to reject this Administration's #TransMilitaryBan was just the first step—we won't quit this fight until we've won."

ACLU Comes Out Against Transgender Ban

Ian Thompson, senior legislative representative with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also responded to the ban, and subsequent resolution, which, according to the ACLU puts Congress on record as “opposing President Trump’s discriminatory ban on transgender service members; rejecting the flawed scientific and medical claims upon which it is based.”

Thompson added: “Today, the House of Representatives joined military, medical, and legal experts in affirming what we already know to be true: allowing open service by transgender individuals does not disrupt or undermine military readiness or unit cohesion. Rather, it is the Trump’s administration’s efforts to ban transgender people from the Armed Forces that undermine national security and military readiness—not to mention being discriminatory and unconstitutional.”

He added the ban is an attempt to “codify transphobia” and the ACLU is expecting to fight the rule. “Our clients – and other transgender service members just like them – are brave men and women who should be able to continue serving their country ably and honorably without being discriminated against by their own commander in chief,” he said.

Last modified on Friday, 29 March 2019
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