Metro Weekly

Poll: 70% of Americans oppose Trump’s transgender military ban

Equality advocates contend that alleged risks of allowing transgender service members are unfounded

Photo: John Riley

A new poll shows that a super-majority of Americans oppose the Trump administration’s attempts to bar transgender people from serving in the military.

According to a Quinnipiac University National Poll, 70% of American voters say that transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military, putting them at odds with President Trump and his closest advisors. Only 22% agree with the president that transgender people should be banned from the Armed Forces.

Support for transgender military service is strong among Democrats and independents, but Republicans oppose the idea by a 50% to 40% margin.

The poll, conducted from Jan. 25-28, surveyed 1,004 voters from across the nation. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.

“It’s crystal clear that the far majority of Americans reject Donald Trump’s reckless, discriminatory attack on our nation’s brave transgender service members,” Ashley Broadway-Mack, the president of the American Military Partner Association, said in a statement. “Instead of singling out transgender troops for discrimination, Donald Trump should reverse course and honor them for the heroes they are. Transgender service members have proven time and again that what matters is their ability to accomplish the mission — not their gender identity.”

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request from the Trump administration to review lower court rulings attempting to block the Trump administration from carrying out the president’s proposed ban on transgender military personnel.

But the court also lifted preliminary injunctions issued by lower courts, meaning that the administration may move forward with the ban as the underlying challenge to its constitutionality works its way through the courts.

Yet despite the partial victory for the administration, the president’s call for a ban on people who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria or have undergone a gender transition seems to remain unpopular.

According to research from the Williams Institute, an estimated 15,500 transgender adults were serving in the U.S. military, including 8,800 on active duty and 6,700 in the National Guard of Reserves. There are also an estimated 130,000 transgender veterans.

Supporters of transgender military service have noted that much of the “concerns” expressed by the Trump administration — that the presence of transgender people will somehow harm military readiness or disrupt unit cohesion — have not been proven in other countries where transgender people are allowed to serve, or in the United States military since July 2016, when former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter lifted previous prohibitions on transgender service.

“For the past two-and-a-half years, thousands of qualified, transgender individuals have made our nation’s armed forces better, in every measurable quality, with their authentic service,” noted Andy Blevins, the executive director of OutServe-SLDN, which is representing several plaintiffs in one of the cases currently challenging the transgender ban. “…We look forward to continuing our representation of these proud and selfless patriots, and reminding this administration that military policy cannot be defined by baseless and discriminatory rationalizations.”

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

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