Trump criticized over military ban on transgender people

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-27 21:51:54|Editor: Zhou Xin
Video PlayerClose

WASHINGTON, July 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that transgender people would be banned from serving in the military, immediately sparking outrage among U.S. congressmen, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and celebrities.

In a series of morning tweets, Trump abruptly announced that transgender people would not be allowed to "serve in any capacity in the U.S. military."

The reason behind the decision, as mentioned in the tweets, is to avoid "the tremendous medical costs and disruption" and focus on "decisive and overwhelming victory."

This marks a wild shift in his stances on the LGBT community. During his campaign last year, he vowed to do everything in his power "to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a press briefing Wednesday that Trump consulted with his national security team and believed the current policy "erodes military readiness and unit cohesion."

"The president has a lot of support for all Americans and certainly wants to protect all Americans at all times," Sanders said.

Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, replied with "call the White House" to all related questions.

Trump's announcement has led to widespread criticism from the two parties' congressmen, as well as social activists and celebrities.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, tweeted that Trump "has shown his conduct is driven not by honor, decency, or national security, but by prejudice."

Adam Smith, top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, challenged the saying that the U.S. military needed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for transgender surgeries and hormone therapies in 10 years, and said the figures "have no basis in fact" as was reported by the U.S. newspaper the New York Times.

Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, who served in the Iraq War and lost both of her legs, recalled her own experience.

"When my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down, I didn't care about the gender identity of the soldiers who were risking their lives to save me. I only cared that they were American troops," Duckworth said on Twitter.

Republican Senator John McCain, a Vietnam War veteran, said in a statement that "any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving."

"The president's tweet this morning ... is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter," he said.

The world's LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD released a statement to express outrage over the ban. The ban "means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD.

Some celebrities also joined politicians and the LGBT community in speaking out against Trump's decision.

Retired Olympic gold-medal winner Caitlyn Jenner has had gender reassignment surgery. "There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the U.S. military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?" Jenner asked in a tweet retweeting Trump's tweet.

An estimated over 134,000 American veterans are transgender, and over 15,000 transgender people are serving in the military now, according to data revealed by the National Center for Transgender Equality, a U.S. social justice advocacy organization founded by transgender activists.