From John McCain:

Senator John McCain
July 26, 2017

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on President Trump’s tweet regarding transgender Americans in the military:

“The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter.

“The statement was unclear. The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so—and should be treated as the patriots they are.

“The Department of Defense is currently conducting a study on the medical obligations it would incur, the impact on military readiness, and related questions associated with the accession of transgender individuals who are not currently serving in uniform and wish to join the military. I do not believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary of Defense, our military leadership, and the Congress.

“The Senate Armed Services Committee will continue to follow closely and conduct oversight on the issue of transgender individuals serving in the military.”



To our transgender brothers and sisters

From Medium:

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
July 27, 2017

he contrast is jarring.

On Wednesday, transgender service members everywhere from training posts to forward operating bases in some of the world’s most dangerous regions woke up to do what they do every day: They put on their uniforms and went about their duties on behalf of the United States of America.

And that same morning, their commander in chief went on Twitter and wrote that he’ll no longer allow them to serve.

This is reckless, harmful and misguided, even by the low standards of our current president. No good comes from telling thousands of service members we don’t value their willingness to put their lives on the line to defend our country.

The president can’t do this to them, impulsively changing policy during his daily Twitter rant — and without consulting the Pentagon. It’s not at all clear this is even legal.

An administration official admitted this wasn’t even about military preparedness or keeping us safe — and of course it isn’t. The official said this was about forcing “Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 … are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?”

That’s a despicable reason to deny brave Americans, willing to risk everything to keep us safe, the ability to serve. There should simply be no place for discrimination within our military. The president is undermining our military and our safety by discriminating against transgender men and women for political gain.

I’m heartened that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs has pledged no immediate changes to the military’s transgender policy in the wake of President Trump’s tweets, but make no mistake: The president’s attacks are a dark moment in our history, and I’ll do everything in my power to fight them. All patriotic Americans must stand with our service members.

I hope you’ll join me. Let’s tell our transgender brothers and sisters we are standing with them and are grateful for their service. I’ll introduce legislation to override this. You can tell your members of Congress you want them to stand up to President Trump and stand alongside trans men and women who make unimaginable sacrifices.

Whether by phone, in person or on social media — wherever feels right to you — please, please, speak out. We need your voice. Transgender service members need to know their fight is our fight. We owe them that.

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Sessions’ DOJ argues gay people aren’t protected from discrimination under Title VII

From Raw Story:

26 Jul 2017

The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday argued that Title VII of the CivilRights Act of 1964 doesn’t protect gay workers from discrimination,

The Justice Department, which is not named as a party in the case, filed an amicus brief with the US Court of Appeals to argue Title VII “does not” ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“The sole question here is whether, as a matter of law, Title VII reaches sexual orientation discrimination. It does not, as has been settled for decades,” the Justice Department’s brief says.

“Any efforts to amend Title VII’s scope should be directed to Congress rather than the courts,” the brief—filed under Attorney General Jeff Sessions—reads.

The brief was submitted in the case Zarda v. Altitude Express, filed in 2010 by skydiving instructor Donald Zarda (since deceased) who alleged his employer discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission supported Zarda last month, but the DOJ argued the federal agency “is not speaking for the United States.”

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Transgender retired Navy SEAL Kristen Beck on military ban

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Trump Cites ‘Tremendous Costs’ for Transgender Service members, When Military Spends Five Times More on Erectile Dysfunction Pills

From Alternet:

Trump announced a ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military Wednesday morning.

By Celisa Calacal
July 26, 2017

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that transgender people would be banned from serving in the U.S. military, claiming that their service in the armed forces incurs “tremendous medical costs.”

Despite Trump’s claim, presented without any evidence, analysis from the Washington Post shows that the military actually spends more money on erectile dysfunction medicine. In addition, a 2016 study commissioned by the Department of Defense paints a different picture of how much it would cost for the military to serve the medical needs of transgender people.

Conducted by the Rand Corporation, the study estimated that costs for gender transition-related medical treatment and hormone treatments would cost roughly between $2.4 million and $8.4 million per year. The study concluded that allowing transgender people to openly serve in the military would “would have a minimal impact on readiness and health care costs.”

In contrast, according to analysis by the Military Times, the military spends a total of $84 million annually on these types of medicines—roughly 10 times more than what the Rand study estimated. The analysis found that the military spends $41.6 million per year just on Viagra, which is five times more than transition-related medical care for transgender military members.

The upper estimates of the Rand study would barely make a dent in the Defense Department’s already inflated and ever-increasing budget. In May, the Pentagon received an additional $15 billion in funding through a spending bill. Trump, an ardent supporter of the military who has lobbied for increased funding to the armed forces, then proposed a budget request of $639.1 billion for the Department of Defense.

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Liberal Redneck – Transgender Patriots and the GOP

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Trump’s transgender tweet wasn’t just the usual morning rant; it’s dangerously bad policy

From The Los Angeles Times:

The Times Editorial Board
July 26, 2017

In the pantheon of Donald Trump tweets, his three-part missive Wednesday morning declaring that transgender people would not be allowed in the military was not his most rude, mindless or irrational. But it is deeply troubling nevertheless. He essentially called for a step backward in time that goes counter to all the slow but necessary progress the United States has made in recent years in its treatment of transgender people.

“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,” Trump tweeted. “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.”

Policy statements made on Twitter don’t generally include much thoughtful argument. But in this case, Trump offers two separate justifications that just don’t stand up. The “tremendous medical costs” for gender-transition-related healthcare are, in fact, negligibly small — an increase of between $2.4 million and $8.4 million. The military spends some $50 billion each year on healthcare, according to a Rand Corp. study.

(By way of comparison, the newspaper Military Times reported in 2015 that the Department of Defense spent $41.6 million on Viagra.)

And Trump’s assertion that transgender troops “disrupt” the military is equally specious, reminiscent of fallacious arguments made in earlier years about women, gays and lesbians. There are already 18 allied militaries around the world that allow transgender individuals to serve openly; of the four studied closely by Rand, none reported a negative impact on the operational readiness, operational effectiveness or force cohesion.

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Why so many transgender Americans find refuge in military service

From The Washington Post:

By Landon Marchant
July 27, 2017

Growing up, no one explicitly told me military service meant respect. They didn’t have to.

American flags flew in countless yards, including my own. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited each morning. Military recruiters knew my high school classmates by name and asked us about athletics and classes. Sporting events began with the national anthem. Military veterans had gainful employment. My evangelical upbringing stressed the importance of selfless service, of setting aside personal desires for the sake of a greater cause.

The only thing louder than the importance of service was the silence around LGBTQ identities. My public school teachers made herculean efforts to support their LGBTQ students, but for me — then, a teen girl struggling with gender identity and sexual orientation — there was no outweighing the influence of religion in my community. Deceived by Satan. Destined to have an unsuccessful life, unemployable, only lovable within certain parameters. There was no respect given, once I came out as queer — just the hollow repetition of “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

I needed to be straight and gender-conforming, in order to be accepted.

In hindsight, it is no surprise that I gravitated to the military. I wanted out of my home town in Greenleaf, Wis. I wanted to go to college. I wanted to learn a trade, because skilled labor inevitably finds employment. I wanted something that would force me to be straight and gender-conforming. In some idealistic way, I was searching for respect.

The Air Force and its core values of “integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do” promised me all of this and more.

I am a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. I am transgender. My story is not unique.

The U.S. military employs as many as 15,500 active duty, National Guard and National Reserve transgender troops, according to a Williams Institute study, which could make it the largest employer of transgender Americans. The research institute also estimated there are 134,000 transgender veterans. Transgender people face higher rates of homelessness, unemployment and health-care discrimination than the average civilian population, and military service can offer economic stability and a sense of purpose. By the Williams Institute estimate, transgender people are twice as likely to serve in the military as their cisgender peers.

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