A Guidance Policy for Open Transgender Service Phase Out is the title of an August 4 directive cleared by White House Counsel to be sent to SecDef Mattis for his review and implementation.
Mattis has released his own memorandum which:
contains no language protecting currently serving transgender servicemembers against harassment, including of those in combat and on foreign bases, [so] it appears Mattis felt it necessary to remind the troops and other Defense Department employees of the high ethical standards expected of U.S. military personnel, setting “an honorable example in all we do.”
I expect every member of the Department to play the ethical midfield. I need you to be aggressive and show initiative without running the ethical sidelines, where even one misstep will have you out of bounds. I want our focus to be on the essence of ethical conduct: doing what is right at all times, regardless of the circumstances or whether anyone is watching.
The move to purge transgender military personnel is dishonorable to the thousands of transgender men and women who are serving our country with courage and who are integral parts of our armed services. The safety of all service members – transgender or not – is undermined by a policy like this that distracts from the important missions they have for no valid reason. It is also a slap in the face of the leadership who have worked diligently to develop and implement the current policy which has been in place for more than a year without incident.
The tweeted military trans ban has already been condemned by more than 56 retired generals and admirals and a large percentage of Republican and Democratic senators and representatives. A majority of Americans support allowing transgender troops to serve openly. This mean-spirited and discriminatory attack on our community is capricious, irrational, and clearly driven by anti-LGBT forces in the administration who care more about harming transgender people than keeping our nation safe. It is clearly unconstitutional. Lambda Legal has a long history of fighting for LGBT service members, and, teaming up with OutServe-SLDN, we’re more than ready to fight like hell again. See you in court, President Trump.
--Sasha Buchert, Lambda Legal
Sources told the Washington Blade that a policy titled “A Guidance Policy for Open Transgender Service Phase Out” would allow transgender service members to continue serving but would not protect them from harassment and would encourage them to retire early.
The President’s order to remove transgender service members from the United States armed forces is nothing less than a purge. He is implementing this purge based on bigotry, motivated by agents of an ideology that has no concern for the national defense, and in blatant disregard of the experience of career officers who spent more than a year developing and implementing the current policy.
It is inconceivable that a man with a demonstrated incompetence in managing the small staff of the White House should have any credibility when it comes to making sound personnel decisions that will effect a fighting force of more than 1.8 million men and women.
We recognize this purge for what it is – a discriminatory attack on the people who have volunteered their lives for the defense of the country. It is arbitrary and capricious, a callous and questionable exercise of constitutional authority which is beneath the dignity of a Commander-in-Chief.
We condemn the actions of the White House in initiating this purge. We condemn the disregard that the President has shown to transgender men and women who wear the uniform. We condemn the intent of any person who would make it the mission of United States military to discriminate against the very citizens they are charged to defend. And we condemn the indifference of any elected official who does not now stand up for both military personnel and the LGBT community by opposing this purge.
OutServe-SLDN with our partner Lambda Legal will be immediately filing a lawsuit in federal court to challenge this action.
--Matthew Thorn, OutServe-SLDN