Credo Action

Tell Secretary of Defense Mattis: Stop Trump’s anti-trans discrimination

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The petition to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reads:

“Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the military is bigoted, hateful and dangerous. Do everything in your power to ensure that transgender troops can continue to serve openly in the military.”

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    Tell Secretary of Defense Mattis: Stop Trump’s anti-trans discrimination

    Leading by tweeting is not working well for Donald Trump. The pushback on his Twitter-announced transgender military ban was so fierce that he is already trying to backpedal and shirk responsibility for his reckless bigotry.1 Now he has put the fate of transgender troops in Secretary of defense Jim Mattis’ hands. We have to make sure Mattis refuses to let Trump’s hate determine who can serve.

    Tell Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis: Do everything in your power to ensure that transgender troops can continue to serve openly in the military.

    Trump’s direct assault on transgender people was, like most of his hateful decisions, haphazard and impulsive. In his unhinged Twitter announcement of the ban, Trump claimed that he arrived at his decision after “consultation with my Generals and military experts”2 – but the Pentagon press office reportedly “didn’t know anything about” his decision.3

    Now Trump is forcing Mattis to clean up his mess. After Trump issued his directive ordering the ban, Mattis said that transgender troops would continue to be allowed to serve in the military while the Pentagon completes a six-month study on the issue.4 The White House is giving Mattis wide discretion, including room to convince Trump to let transgender troops continue to serve.5

    This discretion gives us a massive opportunity. We have to make it clear to Sec. Mattis that tens of thousands of people are counting on him to do what is morally right and right for the military by allowing transgender people to continue to serve.

    Tell Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis: Do everything in your power to ensure that transgender troops can continue to serve openly in the military.

    Trump is using extreme right-wing anti-LGBTQ talking points to suggest that transgender troops serving in the military may negatively affect readiness, cohesion or military spending. Mattis is establishing a “panel of experts” to assess those claims. His panel will not be the first to look at this issue. Just last year, the Pentagon commissioned a non-partisan report that found that letting transgender troops serve would “cost little and have no significant impact on unit readiness.”6 In fact, the estimated cost to provide transgender troops with vital health services is about 0.0014 percent of Trump’s total defense budget proposal.7 That is significantly less than the amount of taxpayer money Trump has spent so far this year on trips to Mar-A-Lago.8

    Trump’s vile and ugly attack against transgender people is not about conserving resources or ensuring the effectiveness of the armed forces, it is about discrimination. There is no evidence that there ever have been or will be high costs, of any kind, for welcoming transgender people into the military. Mattis must turn his back on Trump’s divisive politics and follow the lead of the military leaders who have stood with their transgender colleagues in recent weeks. His study must be thorough and unbiased, and he must fight for the right of transgender troops to openly serve.

    By making incendiary, bigoted policy proposals like banning transgender people from military service, Trump is not only creating a climate of intolerance and exclusion, he is also proactively attempting to dismantle the rights of LGBTQ people.

    The massive pushback on the transgender ban has clearly shaken Trump, but we know that he does not give up on his illegal and unconstitutional attempts at institutionalizing his bigotry easily. Mattis’ decision on transgender troops will not just have an impact the individuals who could be barred from serving their country. He will also either reinforce Trump’s dangerous agenda or show that he has the courage to protect his troops from Trump’s hate. We need to make sure he uses his power to stand strong in the face of politicization and bullying and let the reports on transgender service speak for themselves.

    Tell Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis: Do everything in your power to ensure that transgender troops can continue to serve openly in the military.

    Thank you for standing up for LGBTQ rights.

    References:
    1. Aaron Blake, "Jim Mattis didn’t undermine President Trump’s transgender military ban. Trump already had," The Washington Post, Aug. 30, 2017.
    2. Donald Trump, "Tweet," July 26, 2017. 3. Jim Sciutto, Tweet, Aug. 25, 2017.
    4. G. Robert Hillman, “Mattis allows transgender troops to serve as Pentagon studies Trump's ban,” POLITICO, Aug. 29, 2017.
    5. Office of the Press Secretary, "Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security," Aug. 25, 2017.
    6. Jonah Engel Bromwich, "How U.S. Military Policy on Transgender Personnel Changed Under Obama," The New York Times, July 26, 2017.
    7. John Tozzi and Rebecca Greenfield, “Here’s How Many Trans People Serve in the U.S. Military,” Bloomberg, July 26, 2017.
    8. Josh Hafner, “OnPolitics Today: Trump's Mar-a-Lago trips cost more than trans soldiers' health care,” USA Today, July 26, 2017.