A Democratic Senator will attempt to block President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the US military before it takes effect.
In June of last year, President Obama asked the Pentagon to lift its long-held ban on transgender soldiers serving openly in the military.
The Department of Defense was given until July 1 of this year to implement the policy, with LGBT advocates hopeful that transgender soldiers would finally be able to serve openly.
The decision was delayed by Trump’s Defence Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis – and the President confirmed yesterday that he would reverse the decision put the ban back in place.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has said she is working on legislation to reverse the announcement by President Trump.
“Our office is working on legislation to stop this from happening and on an amendment to the [National Defense Authorization Act], but these are all long-term fixes,” Moran Banai, a senior adviser in the senator’s office told Vox.
Another tact is that the Senator is attempting to get other legislators to sign a letter advising Defense Secretary James Mattis to “advise the President against” blocking trans people from serving.
It also asked for a full internal assessment of the effects of allowing trans people to serve in the military.
“Forcing these brave Americans out of our military would be cruel and discriminatory. It would harm our readiness by denying the military of these service members’ capabilities and requiring the military to replace them at a time when the recruiting pool for the services continues to shrink,” a draft printed by Vox reads.
Other Senators, such as Cory Booker, are also working on legislation to block the ban.
Trump’s ban will not take effect immediately as the Pentagon has already said it is awaiting guidance from the White House.
Despite the assertion that it would cost the military too much to implement a transgender-inclusive policy, the Department of Defense spent five times more on Viagra in 2014 than it would on care for transgender troops.
Out trans former Navy SEAL Kristin Beck challenged President Trump to tell her to her face that she is “not worthy” after he announced the policy.
She also noted the negligible cost of providing the healthcare to trans troops compared to other military costs.
According to reports, the Pentagon was unaware that Trump was about to announce the rolling back of the Obama-era change.
It is not the first time Trump has gone out of his way to reverse a decision on LGBT rights made by Obama.
The GOP leader has already scrapped protections for transgender school kids, ceased government opposition to state-level anti-LGBT laws, and sought to slash HIV aid funding.
The decisions sour Trump’s previous claims during his election campaign to be a “friend” of LGBT people.
In a speech directly after the Orlando massacre he had claimed: “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the L-G-B-T community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words.”
He also won endless praise from gay Republicans for waving a Pride flag on stage, while making no pledges on LGBT rights.