Trump Levels Unprecedented Attack Against Transgender Troops

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 10.47.24 AMDonald Trump on Friday formally ordered the Department of Defense to reverse a 2016 order allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military.

The formal policy document comes a month after Trump surprised the Pentagon when he announced in a series of July 26 tweets that he would reverse the Obama-era policy change. The Pentagon pondered how to respond, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis said he was waiting to hear from the White House exactly how he should proceed.

Friday’s iteration offered few clues for those individuals whose gender identity does not match their gender at birth. In fact, the scope of Trump’s decision on existing transgender service members was not immediately clear even with the formal guidance.

Palm Center director Aaron Belkin issued the following statement in response to a White House memorandum reinstating a ban on all transgender military personnel.

“Instead of working to keep the American people safe, our Commander in Chief has taken aim at his own capably serving troops, contradicting the conclusions of the American Legion, former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dozens of retired Generals and Admirals, 18 foreign militaries, and years of research conducted by the military itself and outside scholars. A billion-dollar witch hunt targeting thousands of current service members will not save the taxpayers money or strengthen the military but will cause disruptions and undermine military readiness, just as the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy did.”

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About The Palm Center

The Palm Center is an independent research institute committed to sponsoring state-of-the-art scholarship to enhance the quality of public dialogue about critical and controversial public policy issues. Our research on sexual minorities in the military has been published in leading social scientific journals. The Palm Center seeks to be a resource for university-affiliated as well as independent scholars, students, journalists, opinion leaders, and members of the public. For more information, see

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