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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