Former Joint Chiefs Chair supports transgender service

Admiral Michael Mullen (retired) served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011. That means he served under both W and Barack Obama and also oversaw the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Thursday Admiral Mullen filed a declaration of support in the case of Karnoski, et. al. v Trump, et. al. brought by Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN in the federal district court for the western district of Washington in Seattle.

Just as gay and lesbian soldiers should not have to lie about who they are to serve, nor should transgender soldiers. When I led our armed forces under DADT, I saw firsthand the harm to readiness and morale when we fail to treat all service members according to the same standards. There are thousands of transgender Americans currently serving, and there is no reason to single them out to exclude them or deny them the medical care that they require.

--Admiral Mullen

OutServe and Lambda Legal are representing six current troops, three people who wish to enlist, the Human Rights Campaign, Seattle-based Gender Justice League and the American Military Partner Association.

Other lawsuits have been filed by NCLR and GLAD, the ACLU, and Equality California.

In addition to getting Mullen’s support, Outserve and Lambda Legal also filed a motion to immediately halt the ban with a preliminary injunction, arguing the policy is already doing harm.

It is unacceptable to destroy the careers of patriotic and courageous members of the U.S. military. This ban must be stopped dead in its tracks before it goes any further so that these brave men and women can focus on their real jobs — protecting and serving the country they love.

--Peter Perkowski, Outserve

Phillip Stephens, a five-year member of the Navy who is one of the troops represented in the suit, added that Trump tweets “pulled the rug out from under” transgender troops.

It is impossible to overstate how important it was when the Pentagon lifted the ban on open service, when I and other transgender service members were finally able to live and serve as our true and authentic selves.

To read those tweets, to have the rug pulled out from under us, to be branded unfit to serve was devastating, not just for me, but really for the U.S. military and military readiness as a whole.

--Stevens

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