'Wrong, Morally And Militarily': Mass. Members Of Congress Decry Trump Ban On Transgender Service Members

Members of Massachusetts' all-Democratic congressional delegation expressed outrage at President Trump's announcement Wednesday that transgender people are barred from serving in the U.S. military.

In a series of tweets, Trump said:

After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow ... Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming ... victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey was the first of the state's 11-member delegation to criticize the administration's move:

And while, as NPR reports, the Pentagon announced it will defer enlistments from transgender applicants until Jan. 1, 2018, many questions remain regarding how Trump plans to enforce the new directive. Transgender men and women have been serving in the military since then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter lifted the ban on transgender service members in June 2016.

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, chair of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force, tweeted a message "to the thousands of #trans men+women bravely serving our nation in uniform: Thank you. We do not take your patriotism for granted."

Earlier this month, Kennedy condemned a rejected amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act from House Republicans that, according to a statement his office sent, "would deny medically necessary health care to transgender service members."

“With the bipartisan rejection of this hateful amendment, Congress reaffirmed a promise that should have never been in question: that we will defend the rights of all of those who defend us," he said in the statement.

On Wednesday, Kennedy also retweeted one of the president's campaign tweets from 2016 that made the rounds across Twitter following the directive. In it, Trump thanks the LGBT community and says he will fight for them.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted Wednesday that the Trump administration's decision to block transgender individuals from military service indicates the president "cares more about extreme ideology than military readiness."

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, an Iraqi veteran, released a statement saying "This policy is wrong, morally and militarily."

"President Trump is making the same argument used against keeping gays and lesbians and African Americans from serving," he continued in the statement. "These are Americans who are willing to put their lives on the line for our country, which is far, far more than President Trump has ever been willing to do. Trump is trying to reverse civil rights, and I’m going to do whatever I can to stop him."

Other members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation also took to Twitter soon to express their dismay with the announcement, while offering words of support for the transgender community:


Headshot of Lisa Creamer

Lisa Creamer Managing Editor, Digital News
Lisa Creamer is WBUR's managing editor for digital news.



More from WBUR

Listen Live