In the News
July 25, 2017
By City News Service
SAN DIEGO — A San Diego congressman Wednesday filed an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that’s intended to block President Donald Trump from barring transgender people from serving in the military.
The amendment by Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, states: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement, enforce, or observe in any way, any directive from the President of the United States that bars or restricts the ability of a person to serve in the Armed Forces because such person is transgender.”
His action came in response to a series of tweets by Trump, who wrote: “After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Trump’s policy, if implemented, would reverse that of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who last year announced that transgender people could serve openly.
Peters cited Pentagon-commissioned study findings that between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender individuals are on active duty in the U.S. military and that enlistment of transgender Americans would have a negligible impact on readiness, and no significant effect on cohesion or effectiveness.
“I can’t think of anything more backwards than turning away a brave, qualified American who wants to serve in our all-volunteer military because of their gender identity,” Peters said.
“There are already thousands of transgender Americans serving honorably and openly in our Armed Forces,” the congressman said. “There is a former member of SEAL Team 6 — the most elite military unit in history — that came out as transgender.”
He said Congress must “stand up against backwards politics, trust military leaders and put national security first.” It is not clear how those service members will be treated under this new policy, he said.
The $700 billion defense appropriations bill is working its way through Congress.