Reversing an open and inclusive policy long-supported by top military leaders, Donald Trump announced this morning that transgender Americans will not be allowed to serve in any capacity in the military. Additionally, Trump’s Department of Justice is set to argue in favor of employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
As an LGBT chamber of commerce representing over 1,300 businesses and their thousands of employees, GSBA knows that transgender employees are not a burden on the workplace. Concerns of a cost burden on an employer due to a transgender employee have never been born out, and there is no reason to believe that the United States military would be any different. The Department of Defense’s own study from 2016 states that allowing transgender people to serve openly would “cost little and have no significant impact on unit readiness.” Once again, all of the President’s assertions fly in the face of established fact.
This is bigotry, pure and simple. It’s not about costs or disruption, it’s about erasing the lives and contributions of transgender people. As stated by Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Trans Equality, “This is an appalling attack on our service members; it is about bigotry rather than military readiness, reason or science. It is indefensible and cannot stand. The President wants to discard thousands of trained and skilled troops who are already serving honorably and have done nothing but be honest about who they are. To turn away qualified recruits simply because of who they are is a shameful way to show our country’s gratitude to the people who serve our country.”
This change in policy does not erase the fact that transgender people exist and serve in our military and in businesses across the country.
Our community is under increasingly fierce attacks at the national level. Contact your members of Congress. Now is the time to get involved. Washington State is home to many outstanding organizations that provide advocacy, programming, and support services for our transgender community. Your donations and volunteer engagement is more important than ever.
GSBA President & CEO