South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Friday spoke out against President Trump’s new policy prohibiting transgender troops from serving in the military unless they serve under their biological sex.
The controversial measure, which ends the previous policy under former President Obama allowing transgender people to serve openly, officially went into effect on Friday.
Buttigieg, who served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2009 to 2017 and was deployed for a seven-month tour in Afghanistan in 2014, encouraged his followers to “ask how we could stand for courageous service members to have their careers destroyed by a president who pretended to be disabled in order to avoid serving when it was his turn,” referring to Trump’s five draft deferments during the Vietnam war due to bone spurs.
“As of today, this is not theoretical,” he added.
He encouraged his followers to read an article by The Advocate which noted that “nearly 13,700 trans service members are expected to lose their careers as the ban begins to take effect today.”
Read this story and ask how we could stand for courageous service members to have their careers destroyed by a president who pretended to be disabled in order to avoid serving when it was his turn. As of today, this is not theoretical. https://t.co/JhY5x6Tzp3
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) April 12, 2019
Buttigieg last month called on federal lawmakers to pass the Equality Act.
Speaking at a town hall CNN organized at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, the Democratic presidential hopeful reaffirmed his support for the Equality Act, which, if passed by Congress and signed into law, would extend existing federal nondiscrimination protections for women and people of color to LGBTQ+ people, as well.
He also spoke out against what he calls “the war on trans Americans” that terrorizes trans children, even in their own schools.
“For a transgender teen to get the signal from the White House that the highest officials in the land can’t tell the difference between her and a predator and make it harder for her to go to the bathroom shows you just how out of whack the climate is in our country right now,” Buttigieg said, per The Hill.
“We’ve got to end the war on trans Americans and we need a federal Equality Act that would say that you cannot be fired just because of who you are or just because you love,” he continued.
In an Out profile earlier this year, Buttigieg said that he would sign the Equality Act if he gets elected in 2020. He also said that he would be “hard pressed” to sign it if it dropped protections for trans people even due to a bipartisan compromise.