Credo Action

Tell Sen. McCain: Don’t let Trump discriminate against our transgender troops

Sign the petition

The petition to Sen. John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee reads:

“Trump’s attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the military is bigoted, hateful and dangerous. Ensure the National Defense Authorization Act blocks and prohibits Trump's discriminatory transgender troops ban.”

    You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.

    Tell Sen. McCain: Don’t let Trump discriminate against our transgender troops

    Donald Trump and his bigoted White House staff are attacking the LGBTQ community – yet again. On Wednesday he took to Twitter to announce his intention to reinstate a hateful and discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military.1

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

    Fortunately, Trump does not get to make this decision on his own. Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Sen. John McCain has already spoken out against a transgender ban in the military. Now he needs to put his words into action by using the currently pending defense policy bill to stand up to Trump and block this hateful and discriminatory proposal.

    Tell Sen. McCain: Stand up to Trump’s bigotry. Ensure that the National Defense Authorization Act blocks and prohibits Trump’s discriminatory transgender troops ban.

    Trump launched his vile and ugly attack against transgender people based on a debunked, extreme right-wing talking point couched in policy. The fact is, there is no evidence that there ever have been or will be high costs for treating transgender people in the military. According to a recent report,4 the estimated cost of medical care for transgender people serving in the military is about 0.0014 percent of Trump’s total defense budget proposal.5 For context, the amount of taxpayer money Trump has spent so far this year on trips to Mar-a-Lago trips is significantly higher than the projected cost of providing transgender troops with vital health services.6 This is not about conserving resources, this is about discrimination.

    The majority of Americans support equal protection under the law for LGBTQ Americans, but in most states, people can be fired from their jobs, evicted from their apartments, or denied services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and presentation.7 By making incendiary, bigoted policy proposals like banning transgender people from military service, Trump is not only refusing to create a climate of safety and inclusion, he is also proactively attempting to dismantle the rights of LGBTQ people. Elected officials who stigmatize and target LGBTQ people contributes to a larger social context of intolerance. According to a 2009 survey, more than half of LGBTQ people in the United States expect to be a victim of a hate crime.8

    Speaking more to the incompetency of the messenger than the abhorrent nature of the message, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, the highest ranking military officer in the country, said in a letter that tweets do not equal policy change, and that Donald Trump’s Twitter flurry will have no impact on current policy.9

    However, as we have seen with the Muslim ban, Trump does not give up easily on his attempts to institutionalize bigotry, and he is already taking steps to implement the policy despite massive critique.10 We need to ensure that protections for trans troops are enshrined in law.

    Tell Sen. McCain: Stand up to Trump’s bigotry. Ensure that the National Defense Authorization Act blocks and prohibits Trump’s discriminatory transgender troops ban.

    It is telling that even some congressional Republicans are breaking with Trump on this attempt to discriminate against transgender servicemen and women.

    Sen. McCain – who was one of the last and loudest Republican voices against allowing LGBTQ people to openly serve in the military in 201011 – spoke out strongly against Trump’s bigoted proposal (emphasis added):

    "There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military – regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so – and should be treated as the patriots they are."12

    Sen. McCain is right but needs to back his strong words with action. As chairman of the SASC he has the power to take real action by ensuring that the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 – the law that specifies the budget every year for the Department of Defense – includes measures that protect transgender people from discrimination in the military. A strong display of grassroots support on our petition will help show Sen. McCain that his legacy is on the line with the rights of transgender troops.

    Thank you for standing up for LGBTQ rights.

    References:

    1. Jennifer Bendery, “Donald Trump Says Transgender People No Longer Allowed To Serve In Military,” HuffPost, July 26, 2017.
    2. Donald Trump, "Tweet," July 26, 2017.
    3. Jim Sciutto, "Tweet," July 26, 2017.
    4. Schaefer et al. “Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly,” RAND Corporation, 2016.
    5. John Tozzi and Rebecca Greenfield, “Here’s How Many Trans People Serve in the U.S. Military,” Bloomberg, July 26, 2017.
    6. Josh Hafner, “OnPolitics Today: Trump's Mar-a-Lago trips cost more than trans soldiers' health care,” USA Today, July 26, 2017.
    7. Catalyst, “Quick Take: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Workplace Issues,” May 30, 2017.
    8. Michelle A. Marzullo and Alyn J. Libman, “Hate Crimes and Violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People,” Human Rights Campaign Foundation, May 2009.
    9. Rebecca Kheel, “Joint Chiefs: No change in transgender policy until Trump sends Pentagon direction,” The Hill, July 27, 2017.
    10. Karen Ocamb, "White House issues guidance on Trump’s trans military ban," Washington Blade, Aug. 4, 2017.
    11. Garance Franke-Ruta, “John McCain's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Last Stand,” The Atlantic, Dec. 18, 2010.
    12. Noa Yadidi and Grace Hauck, “McCain criticizes 'unclear' Trump policy on transgender military ban,” CNN, July 26, ,2017.