SACRAMENTO — On behalf of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), introduced Assembly Joint Resolution 22 today condemning President Trump’s announcement that he will ban transgender individuals from serving in the military and directing the California military to not discriminate against transgender service members.
“Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military is offensive, misguided, and contrary to our American values,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. “The thousands of transgender military service members who have put their lives on the line for our country deserve better. The California Legislative LGBT Caucus stands by our transgender service members and will do everything in our power to prevent further discrimination.”
On July 26, 2017, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that the “U.S. Government would not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” citing “disruption” and “tremendous costs” related to health care for transgender service members. However, the Department of Defense announced the next day that transgender members would be permitted to continue serving until the White House drafts a formal request for policy change. As such, the estimated 6,000 transgender Americans on active duty are currently able to serve.
Although President Trump cited medical costs as one of the reasons behind the ban, a RAND Corporation study commissioned by the United States military found that medical care for transgender service members would cost approximately $8 million a year of the Pentagon’s $600 billion budget—compared to $84 million, which the United States military currently spends on Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs. In addition, the U.S. military is currently conducting a study on the medical obligations, 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. A new policy decision would be inappropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed.
“As an American, a veteran and a lesbian – I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s recent announcement that transgender people will be banned from military service. Americans who love their country and feel a call to duty – in the form of military service – should be lifted up for their courage and sacrifice, rather than pushed out!” said Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), a member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus and a veteran.
California hosts more than 190,000 active and reserve service people from all five branches of the United States military and is home to three army bases, seven marine bases, 10 navy bases, six air force bases and five reserve and national Coast Guard bases. Thousands of transgender troops are currently serving in our military and an unknown number are currently in combat zones.
“Military rules and regulations allow trans people to serve their country, and even the commander-in-chief cannot change those via Twitter. Thousands of trans service-members on the front lines deserve better from their commander-in-chief. Discrimination doesn’t make us safer, but it does exclude those with the desire and talents to serve our country. Their service matters, their lives matters, and the CA LGBT Caucus stands with our trans service-members,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), Vice Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.
AJR 22 will be heard on the Assembly Floor in the coming weeks.