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Transgender Rights Are Not Up for Debate

Trump’s transgender military ban is plainly unconstitutional and endangers trans lives. We are not having it.

At a rally for trans rights in Times Square the day Trump announced his intent to ban military service by transgender Americans. Photo by author.

By Jordan Valerie Allen

July 26, 2017 was the 69th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman desegregating the United States military.

July 26, 2017 was also the date President Donald J. Trump announced that transgender Americans will no longer be allowed to serve in our armed forces.

Brand New Congress unequivocally denounces President Donald Trump’s intent to ban transgender Americans from military service. This cruel and heartless decision threatens the livelihoods of thousands of brave individuals serving our country.

The military is the greatest employer of transgender people in the United States, with over 15,000 individuals serving. One in five transgender Americans have served in uniform. That’s over twice the percentage of the general U.S. population. But because of President Trump’s new policy, which he unveiled at 6am yesterday via Twitter, the future of these servicepeople hangs in the balance.

This ban sends a devastating message to transgender Americans. As with the rescinding of the Obama-era guidance supporting the right of transgender students to use the bathroom of their true gender, the Trump administration is saying that transgender Americans are not worthy of equal access to basic American rights, that they are somehow less patriotic simply because of their gender identity.

If there’s a silver lining to be had, it’s seeing that Trump’s decision doesn’t sit well with many veterans.

Should his Twitter threats become actual policy, it will have a dangerous effect on countless lives. Already, almost half of transgender youth attempt suicide. The fact that the President of the United States is now targeting them will certainly not help them feel the acceptance and love they deserve.

Ironically, Trump’s announcement landed on the 69th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman signing the order to desegregate the military. In less than two months, it will be the sixth anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We have been on a path towards progress, and we should keep moving forward to ensure that all Americans have equal opportunity, access, and rights. But instead, President Trump is trying to drag our nation back to the days when people were excluded entirely from society due simply to who they are.

The Constitution enshrines the right of all people to live with dignity and liberty. With this ban, President Trump is violating those ideals on which America was founded. Gender identity should not determine whether you can use the bathroom or serve in the military. We must protect our most vulnerable, not further marginalize them. Rather than attack transgender Americans, President Trump should be honoring their bravery and expanding protections to ensure that all Americans have the rights they deserve.

Brand New Congress will not stand idly by while this administration attempts to dismantle our constitutionally-protected liberties. When elected, we will fiercely protect the rights of every citizen. Congress was designed to be a check against abuse of power from an out-of-control Executive Branch — and with a Brand New Congress, you can be sure it will.

To be honest, I struggle a lot with whether or not to address the daily barrage from the current administration….

Posted by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday, July 27, 2017

 


Jordan Valerie is a Brand New Congress volunteer, filmmaker, journalist, political activist, and proud queer woman of color dedicated to civil rights, civic engagement, diversity, and watching a movie a week.