If you’ve been (magically) detached from the internet this week, you may have missed the POTUS tweets that shocked the hell out of us and our military: On Wednesday, Trump said in three tweets that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military in any capacity. In response, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) composed a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, urging him not to impose the unconstitutional ban on transgender troops in the military. She was seen collecting signatures throughout the Senate chamber this week and on Friday, the letter was published with 45 signatures.
(By the way, we just wanted to point out that a year ago, Trump posted a tweet thanking the LGBT community and promised to fight for them while ‘Hillary brings in more people that will threaten [their] freedoms and beliefs.’ Ahem.)
Gillibrand’s strongly-worded letter to Mattis states:
CNN politics reporter Eric Bradner shared the letter via Twitter.
Of the 45 signatures collected, only one Republican signed the letter.
Fascinating fact: Quite a few Republican lawmakers criticized the ban after Trumps’ tweets. And yet, Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the only one who was willing to put her John Hancock on Gillibrand’s letter.
According to reports, there are between 4,000 and 15,000 transgender troops serving in the military right now.
The numbers are unclear for many reasons. First of all, trans troops continue to be forced to hide their gender identities. Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter changed that policy last year under President Obama, though, allowing transgender individuals to join the armed forces openly by July 1st of this year, “assuming they met accession standards.”
But in June, Mattis put that plan on pause, offering the Pentagon a six-month delay on openly transgender enlistments to assess the “impact” that trans troops would have on the military’s readiness and “lethality.” Err, what?
One step forward. One step back. If this doesn’t get your blood boiling… well, we don’t know what will.