Military Responses to Trump’s #TransBan

The day after Trump announced he was going to ban transgender people from entering the military, we asked for responses from LGBTQ+ military members and allies. This will be an ongoing updated blog post as we receive more responses.

I served in the Marine Corps from 1984–1996, and was discharged under DADT.

It was a horrible experience, which still resonates with me today.

When the ban ended in 2010 I was so grateful that no one would have to suffer again. When the transgender ban ended last year, I was equally happy. In my 12 years of service no one ever cared about my private life. They only cared about how I did my job. Being LGBTQ in the military has no bearing on job performance. Anyone who has served knows this.

The actions today are a step backwards and I fear what comes next. Eliminating over 15,000 personnel from the military will have a negative impact across all branches, but it will be devastating to the honorable men and women serving today. I’m sad for my transgender brothers and sisters. My heart breaks for you.

Today, I work for the VA and I see transgender Veterans almost weekly. The truth is for most active duty personnel and Veterans, no one cares what you wear, what body parts you were born with, or who you go home to at night. They care that you do you job and that you have their back when the time comes. That’s it. It saddens me when politicians put personal interests above the wellbeing of our troops. This policy will harm military personnel and could potentially harm our Veterans. It’s a sad way to repay our Nation’s Heroes.

  • Bryan Clark, SSgt USMC 1984–1996

I always am asked, “Why did you decide to join the military so late in life?” With DADT in place, as an 18 year old lesbian finally coming to terms with my sexuality, I didn’t want to be limited to that if I fell in love. I could have lost my job, and would have had this shame above my head and when I would have to explain to potential employers as to why I was discharged, I’d have to explain “it was because I was in love with a woman.”

Then the most historic thing happened. I was allowed to serve without fear of being who I was. And then a bigger thing happened: if I chose to get married, it would be recognized and my spouse would receive benefits. I knew this was my moment.

I took my oath of enlistment seriously. I knew that I was going to do something bigger than myself and anything I imagined. I was concerned for a while about how I would be accepted, when these rules had been in place long before I even decided to join the Air Force. Not once since joining, have I ever felt that I was unwelcome, or “unfit” to serve. We’re told from basic training that the person to your left and your right is your brother or sister. You need them. And in a battlefield defending your country and life, you’re not going to care who they are or what they do in their private time. You only care that they have your back.

Today, in a time where I thought we would be moving forward, we’re taking huge steps back. I put on a uniform every day and by doing so I’m saying “I’m willing to pay the price of laying my life on the line for your freedom.” This is the same freedom for a man, who just the other day that told me because I’m Hispanic and listen to Spanish music that he would like nothing better than to “see me deported” and “smash my window” for the Dominican flag I have displayed on my car.

It breaks my heart that people that I call my brothers and sisters in arms can easily shunned away because they identify with a gender that they weren’t born with.

  • A1C David, Air Force

President Trump’s decision to ban transgender military service members is reckless and threatens our national security. Enshrined within our Constitution is the principle that all Americans are free and equal under the law. Any American who meets current physical and medical readiness standards should be allowed to serve in the US military, regardless of color, creed, sexuality or gender identity.

Diversity is one of our greatest strengths.

Forcing service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military is irresponsible.

  • Brian Carroll, US Army

Trump has shown that he only sees people as one dimensional; defined by their gender, looks (in some cases as we have seen), or orientation. (All things that they can not control.)

He has weakened himself further today with the ban on trans people serving.

All people who serve in the military are deserving of feeling safe and wanted by their own government. I was in the Royal Navy and I can honestly say I never saw or encountered discrimination. We only cared about how good at your job you were or how hard you worked, (which is something you CAN control). Being LGBTQ is not a choice, not a lifestyle, not a trend. Trans people in the military are putting their own lives to defend the people who have the privilege to make the devastation decision to discriminate them in the safety of an office nowhere near a war zone.

If the only person left to defend Trump against an enemy was a trans person, would he still be as choosy who was in his military?’

  • OMC1 Jones, Royal Army

I am a DoD contractor and work on a Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Maryland. I have a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) sticker dead-center on the rear bumper of my car — I wondered how it would be received on a military installation.

Much to my surprise I’ve seen a lot of HRC stickers, and have found an impressive support of the LGBTQ community by the Navy and Marine Corp!

It was great to hear about the support the Navy has for transgender members and its additional support for the LGBTQ community. The Admiral insists ‘we’ use every resource available to the military, regardless of an individual’s sexual preference or identity. These opinions were stated to me on June 8th when I attended a lecture by Judy and Dennis Shepard, in celebration of Pride Month.

It was a great day! Proud friends, coworkers, allies, family members, military and civilians, and members of the LGBLTQ community — feeling loved, safe, and celebrated!

The shock and disappointment that came to many Americans in the past few weeks from the administration, has caused reason to respond, resist, and take action. I am relieved that the military promptly said policy would remain unchanged until the White House sends the Defense Department new rules. I hope the Defense Department moves meticulously.

Personally, I have taken action by creating a formal advisory and advocacy program on base, with the goal of supporting the diversity and inclusion that defines our country.

  • Robin Hall, DoD
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