Central PA's LGBT News Source
“President Trump said he would be the best friend the LGBT community ever had. His actions from Inauguration Day until this moment have indicated anything but that,” Joanne Carroll, president, TransCentralPA told Central Voice. Carroll is a 20-year Air Force veteran.
Trump tweeted July 26 that transgender individuals cannot "serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."
Estimates are that there are about 15,000 transgender members of the Armed Forces. “First, they were told that their contributions to our country are valued. Now in a 144-character tweet Trump says we have no value in the military,” Carroll said.
Trump’s tweet came on the anniversary of the day when President Harry Truman issued his Executive Order committing the government to the desegregation of the Armed Forces. US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has said that transgender service was not a problem for him as long as the mission was accomplished.
A trans male Air Force veteran Kai Kelly, 30, Williamsport, told Central Voice Trump’s decision “would pretty much be like putting the ‘Don't Ask, Don’t Tell” policy" back into place, a step backward for the LGBT community”. He views Trump’s tweet as “an emotional and uneducated response, a biased opinion based on prejudice.” President Trump's ban “is yet again another tactic to bring fear and hatred against the transgender community,” Kelly said who also is president of TheSpectrumAlliance.org which serves Clinton and Lycoming counties.
Currently serving in the Army, trans man Landon Shimek told Central Voice that when he woke up July 26 to Trump’s tweet “I was shocked”.
He shares that he had one incident around his transgender status about two years ago.
By Army regulations, “I have to use the female bathroom, which I was in, to measure other females’ height and weight”. He is part his FITT team. “I got called out by a high-ranking officer who chased me out of the locker room/bathroom and told me I was in the wrong one,” he explained. She yelled “You're transgender, you're transgender. And not allowed to be in here.” The officer reportedly “chased” Shimek “out of the locker room to where I could feel her breathing down the back of my neck.”
He went upstairs to his unit in tears where a chaplain assistant pulled pulled him into his office where Shimek explained what happened.
Eventually, his first sergeant, commander, and brigade commander got involved. “I basically had to ‘out’ myself as a trans man. Other than that one incident there have been no other problems,” Shimek said.
His commander has told him because he was a “squared away soldier” he chose to stand behind him.
He also told me, Shimek said, that despite religious or political beliefs, at the end of the day I am his soldier and he was going to take care of me.”
Joint Chiefs Of Staff's Reaction
Meanwhile, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a written message today (July 27) to military leaders that there has been no change yet to the military's policy on transgender personnel, despite plans for a ban announced by President Donald Trump.
"There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance," Dunford said in the written message to service chiefs, commanders and senior enlisted leaders, Reuters reports.
PA LGBT Equality Caucus
State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, said, "This is discrimination, adding to a string of broken Trump promises, this time one he made to LGBT Americans, and it's a waste of tax dollars and the talents and abilities of thousands of Americans who just want to serve their country.
More than two dozen members of Congress gathered outside the U.S. Capitol July 26 to criticize President Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from the military.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said: “On this very day in 1948, President Harry Truman signed the executive order desegregating the U.S. military. Sixty-nine years later, President Trump has chosen this day to unleash a vile and hateful agenda that will blindside thousands of patriotic Americans already serving with honor and bravery.
“It is a cruel and arbitrary decision designed to humiliate transgender Americans who stepped forward to serve our country. A study commissioned by the Department of Defense found that the cost of providing medically necessary transition-related care would be a paltry 2 to 8 million per year – one one-hundredth of one percent of the military’s nearly $50 billion health care budget,” Pelosi said.
Sen. Thom Tillis
From Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.): “I would have significant objections to any proposal that calls for a specific group of American patriots currently serving in uniform to be removed from the military.”
Sen. Rob Portman
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), whose openly gay son prompted him to come out for gay rights in 2013: “The Secretary of Defense is conducting a study of this policy and Rob believes we should wait until that is complete before making any decisions,” a spokeswoman told in-state press.
“There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the US military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?" Jenner is considering a run for the US Senate in CA.
GOP Sen. Richard Shelby
"You ought to give everybody a chance to serve."
AK Republican Senator Sullivan
"If you can meet (high) standards for military service, it shouldn't matter who you are," @DanSullivan2014
GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch
“Transgender people are people and deserve the best we can do for them.”