Fifty-six retired U.S. generals, admirals and other senior officers today voiced opposition to President Donald Trump's proposed ban on transgender military service. Trump attempted to justify his bigotry on the bogus grounds it would be disruptive and harm readiness.
"Patriotic transgender Americans who are serving - and who want to serve - must not be dismissed, deprived of medically necessary health care, or forced to compromise their integrity or hide their identity," the former officers wrote.
The Commander in Chief has tweeted a total ban of honorably serving transgender troops. This proposed ban, if implemented, would cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and compromise the integrity of transgender troops who would be forced to live a lie, as well as non-transgender peers who would be forced to choose between reporting their comrades or disobeying policy. As a result, the proposed ban would degrade readiness even more than the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Patriotic transgender Americans who are serving—and who want to serve—must not be dismissed, deprived of medically necessary health care, or forced to compromise their integrity or hide their identity.
The letter and comments were the latest push-back from retired or active military members after Trump said on Twitter he would ban transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity", reviving a ban that had ended in 2016.
Trump's announcement appealed to some in his conservative political base, but it created vast uncertainty for active-duty and reserve transgender service members, who say they number in the thousands.
The retired officers said in their open letter that the ban "would cause significant disruptions" and deprive the military of talent or force members to live a lie.
The retired officers said the move would "degrade readiness" even more than the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy implemented in 1994 under President Bill Clinton that lifted a ban on gay people serving in the military but called for them to be circumspect about their sexuality.
The letter was released by the Palm Center, a public policy think tank.
Also today, U.S. Coast Guard commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft voiced support for transgender Coast Guard service persons.