Ac­tivists dis­mayed at U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ban on trans­gen­der mil­i­tary per­son­nel

Trump’s dec­la­ra­tion via Twit­ter called ‘heinous and dis­gust­ing’ at­tack on trans­gen­der ser­vice mem­bers

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID CRARY

NEW YORK — Most LGBT-rights ac­tivists never be­lieved Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign prom­ises to be their friend. But with his move Wed­nes­day to ban trans­gen­der peo­ple from mil­i­tary ser­vice, on top of other ac­tions and ap­point­ments, they now see him as openly hos­tile.

Lead­ers of ma­jor ad­vo­cacy groups de­picted Trump’s Twit­ter pro­nounce­ment as an ap­peal to the por­tion of his con­ser­va­tive base that op­poses the re­cent civil-rights gains by the LGBT com­mu­nity.

“His ad­min­is­tra­tion will stop at noth­ing to im­ple­ment its anti-LGBTQ ide­ol­ogy within our gov­ern­ment — even if it means deny­ing some of our bravest Amer­i­cans the right to serve and pro­tect our na­tion,” said Sarah Kate El­lis, pres­i­dent of the LGBT-rights group GLAAD.

Trans­gen­der ser­vice mem­bers have been able to serve openly since last year, af­ter a move by then-De­fence Sec­re­tary Ash Carter. Trump’s vow to end that pol­icy was the lat­est, and per­haps the most sting­ing, of a string of ac­tions since his elec­tion that have dis­mayed sup­port­ers of LGBT rights.

The Hu­man Rights Cam­paign, a na­tional LGBT-rights group, de­picted Trump’s ear­ly­morn­ing tweets Wed­nes­day as a “heinous and dis­gust­ing” at­tack on trans­gen­der ser­vice mem­bers.

“It is also the lat­est ef­fort by Trump and Mike Pence to undo our progress and drag LGBTQ peo­ple back into the closet by us­ing our lives as po­lit­i­cal pawns,” said the group’s pres­i­dent, Chad Grif­fin.

Trump’s pro­nounce­ment was hailed by some con­ser­va­tives who have long com­plained that the mil­i­tary was un­der­min­ing its ef­fec­tive­ness by al­low­ing gays, les­bians and trans­gen­der peo­ple to serve openly. Op­po­nents also have con­tended that the mil­i­tary should not bear the cost of any med­i­cal pro­ce­dures re­lated to gen­der tran­si­tion.

Mara Keis­ling, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Cen­ter for Trans­gen­der Equal­ity, de­nounced Trump’s dec­la­ra­tion as “sim­ple big­otry.”

“This at­tack has noth­ing to do with mil­i­tary readi­ness, rea­son or sci­ence,” she said. “It is in­de­fen­si­ble.”

At­tor­ney Sasha Buchert, a trans­gen­der woman who works for the LGBT-rights group Lambda Le­gal, re­called feel­ings of fear and iso­la­tion while serv­ing in the Marines in the 1980s.

“It’s not a ques­tion of whether trans­gen­der peo­ple will serve,” she said. “It’s a ques­tion of whether they’ll be serv­ing openly or will be hid­ing like they did in the old days.”


LGBT rights sup­port­ers protest a ban on trans­gen­dered ser­vice­mem­bers in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

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