Metro Weekly

RNC approves resolution supporting Trump’s transgender military ban

Resolution calls being transgender "a disqualifying psychological and physical" condition

Donald Trump – Photo: Gage Skidmore.

The Republican National Committee has passed a resolution supporting Trump’s attempts to bar transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military.

On Friday, at its annual winter meeting in Washington, the committee approved a resolution expressing support for Trump’s demand that military recruiters consider transgender as “a disqualifying psychological and physical” condition, according to the Associated Press.

The resolution states that the RNC supports Trump’s “intent and prerogative to strengthen our military with sound personnel policies,” and asks the Justice Department to appeal recent court decisions halting the president’s proposed ban to the Supreme Court.

While objectionable, the RNC resolution is not unusual, as the committee typically passes resolutions to support a president of their own party, particularly when the administration’s policies are challenged in court.

Trump first floated the idea of banning all active-duty transgender service members last July via Twitter, and subsequently began directing Pentagon officials to study how best to implement such a ban. But LGBTQ advocates filed four separate lawsuits challenging the ban as unconstitutional and discriminatory.

In all four of those cases, federal courts have halted the ban from being implemented, thereby allowing transgender military personnel to keep serving and allowing transgender recruits to enlist starting on Jan. 1. Thus far, at least eight transgender individuals have attempted to enlist in the Air Force alone. 

In one of the cases, out of Washington State, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, which are representing nine transgender individuals suing over the ban, recently asked a federal court to permanently block the ban from being enforced. A decision relating to that request is expected in the coming months.

The Department of Defense is currently reviewing its recruitment policies and is expected to issue recommendations on whether, in the view of high-ranking Pentagon officials, transgender people can serve openly in the military without hurting morale or military readiness.

Many Republicans have embraced the view of transgender people adopted by President Trump and social conservatives that being transgender is a mental illness or disability, and therefore all transgender people are unqualified to serve in the military. Others, including Jamie Shupe, a transgender military veteran, argue that while admitting transgender individuals who are suffering from gender dysphoria would negatively affect military readiness, other transgender individuals would be perfectly capable of serving without incident.

The Democratic National Committee blasted the RNC’s resolution in a statement.

“Over the last month alone, the Trump-Pence administration has rolled back significant protections for the LGBTQ community, ripped apart families, and allowed health care workers to discriminate [in] access to medical care,” DNC ­­­LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta said. “Today, the RNC decided to go even further and pass a hateful resolution, which only serves to subvert and further demean hardworking men and women who want to serve their country in the most honorable way they can.

“The RNC has proven they are more than willing to deny basic rights to LGBTQ Americans all while accepting money from an accused sexual predator and funneling money to an alleged child molester,” Acosta said, referring to allegations of sexual misconduct against former RNC Finance Chair Steve Wynn and Roy Moore, who recently lost an election for the U.S. Senate in Alabama.

“Every American deserves respect and Democrats will not rest until every American is given the opportunity, respect, and rights they deserve under the Constitution,” Acosta concluded.

Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, issued her own statement condemning the resolution.

“President Trump’s bigoted proposal to purge qualified military personnel is in direct contradiction to the will of the American people and what’s best for our nation’s security,” Ellis said. “The fact that the RNC is siding with blatant discrimination over supporting the rights of brave Americans to serve our nation displays how toxic and deeply rooted the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ ideology has become.”

Gregory T. Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, also slammed the resolution.

“In addition to being unnecessary and inconsequential, this resolution undercuts the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security by attempting to preempt their pending recommendations on this issue,” Angelo said in a statement. “Log Cabin Republicans continues to stand with the transgender individuals who put their lives on the line to keep America free.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com