This past July, AIDS United issued a statement condemning the Trump Administration’s initial announcement that the United States Government would begin openly discriminating against transgender individuals’ right to serve in the U.S. military. We did so not just out of solidarity with the transgender community, but also with the hope that we could play a part in changing President Trump’s decision with regards to this unjustifiable and unnecessary declaration of bigotry.
Unfortunately, the hope that the President would evolve on this particular issue was extinguished on Friday, when President Trump signed a memorandum formalizing his administration’s decision to reinstate the military’s ban on transgender service members. This memorandum directs the Pentagon to bar all transgender Americans from enlisting in the military, while only allowing for the retention of currently enlisted transgender service members as individual exceptions to a rule that sees them as inherently unfit to serve, despite evidence showing that the inclusion of transgender individuals has no significant impact on military readiness and, in reality, benefits the military by creating an inclusive and diverse workforce.
The Trump Administration’s ban has nothing to do with the safety and security of our nation and everything to do with the bigotry and intolerance of those who have been charged to lead it. And, while we acknowledge Defense Secretary Mattis’s recent statement that the Defense department will postpone the outright ban for currently serving transgender service members pending further study, it is not nearly enough.
AIDS United is in solidarity with all service members and their families affected by the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender individuals in the military. We will continue to fight until the right of transgender individuals to serve their country is restored.
About AIDS United: AIDS United’s mission is to end the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. through strategic grant-making, capacity building, formative research and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV/AIDS care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV/AIDS-related policy for U.S. populations and communities most impacted by the epidemic. To date, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $104 million to local communities, and have leveraged more than $117 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to HIV prevention, access to care, capacity building, harm reduction and advocacy. aidsunited.org.