More than 20 retired generals and admirals are opposing the latest version of President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military in a new statement Tuesday.
“The administration’s announcement on the treatment of transgender service members is a troubling move backward,” the 26 officers wrote in their statement via the Palm Center, which researches issues of gender and sexuality.
“There is simply no reason to single out brave transgender Americans who can meet military standards and deny them the ability to serve.”
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In their statement Tuesday, the retired officers argue the new policy is similar to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which banned gays and lesbians from serving until Congress repealed it.
“Many of us personally experienced the belated removal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and faced firsthand how that mistaken policy set back our force and enabled discrimination against patriotic gay and lesbian Americans,” they said. “We learned a clear lesson: the singling out of one group of service members for unequal treatment harms military readiness, while inclusion supports it.”
Transgender troops who are able to serve under the new policy, they continued, would do so “under a false presumption of unsuitability,” not be able to receive needed medical care and will live in “constant fear” of being discharged.
“We should not return to the days of forcing men and women to hide in the shadows and serve their country without institutional support,” the officers said. “This deprives the military of trained and skilled service members, which harms readiness and morale.”
In his report, Defense Secretary Mattis recommended banning most transgender soldiers except under three specific criteria:
• If they have not had gender dysphoria for 36 months
• If they have been diagnosed after entering service but do not need to transition gender
• If they are currently serving troops who came out and are receiving treatment since the ban on their service was first lifted in 2016.
Trump’s new policy is currently stalled from going into effect as four separate federal courts have issued injunctions against the ban calling the new policy unconstitutional.