More than 20 retired generals and admirals have released a statement Tuesday opposing President Trump’s latest move to ban most transgender Americans from serving in the military, calling it a “troubling move backward.”
“The administration’s announcement on the treatment of transgender service members is a troubling move backward,” the 26 officers wrote in their statement.
“There is simply no reason to single out brave transgender Americans who can meet military standards and deny them the ability to serve.”
Trump issued a memo on Friday that bans most transgender people from serving in the military “except under certain limited circumstances.” The memo also gives Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen “authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals.”
The Hill added:
In Mattis’ recommendation to Trump, released Friday in conjunction with the memo, he wrote that there is “substantial risk” to allowing transgender service members. He recommended banning anyone diagnosed with gender dysphoria expect under three circumstance: 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, or if they are currently serving troops who came out and are receiving treatment since the ban on their service was first lifted in 2016.
On Monday, Mattis said the military is “out to build the most lethal service,” but declined to comment further because of pending litigation against the policy.
The new policy cannot go into effect immediately, as courts have issued preliminary injunctions that require the Pentagon to continue adhering to the open-service policy while the lawsuits work their way through the court system.
The more than two-dozen retired officers argued in their statement Tuesday that the new policy is similar to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which banned gays and lesbians from serving until Congress repealed it under President Obama in 2010.
“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 soldiers who are able to serve under the new policy, they continued, would do so “under a false presumption of unsuitability” and will live in “constant fear” of being discharged from the military.
“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.”