Today, the Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) — the nation’s largest non-profit organization working to advance fairness and equality for the LGBTQ military and veteran community — released the following statements ahead of the one year anniversary of the Trump-Pence transgender military ban, which went into effect last year on April 12.
“For far more than a year, the Trump-Pence administration has shamefully told thousands of qualified transgender military members that we aren’t good enough and our service doesn’t matter. Yet time and time again, we continue to prove them wrong,” said Patricia King, the Army’s first out transgender infantryman and MMAA’s federal advocacy manager. “Whether it’s the implementation of the trans military ban, the gross mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, or the firing of decorated military leaders who speak up, the Trump-Pence administration is exhibiting a toxic lack of leadership with a deeply harmful agenda. Our nation’s brave service members and their families deserve better.”
“Over the past year, we’ve continued to hear from qualified transgender patriots who want to serve their country but can’t because of the Trump-Pence transgender military ban,” said Peter Perkowski, MMAA’s legal and policy director. “As our nation faces unprecedented challenges, the last thing our military should be doing is rejecting qualified individuals who want to serve simply because of their gender identity. We’re proud to be fighting the Trump-Pence transgender military ban in court, and we are determined to ensure that justice ultimately prevails against this blatant, unconstitutional discrimination.”
The far majority of Americans believe that anyone who is qualified and willing should be able to serve in the military — including transgender people. The majority of active duty service members also oppose the Trump-Pence transgender military ban.
In 2016, under the Obama-Biden administration, the military finally updated its outdated regulations, allowing transgender service members to serve openly and authentically. But Donald Trump unconscionably singled out these brave American patriots for discrimination in July 2017 via Twitter with a transgender military ban. His discriminatory policy took effect on April 12, 2019.
In a federal lawsuit, Karnoski v. Trump, MMAA and Lambda Legal are challenging the constitutionality of the ban. The lawsuit represents six currently serving members of the armed services; three who seek to enlist; the American Military Partner Association, which merged with OutServe-SLDN to form MMAA; the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization; and Gender Justice League, a gender and sexuality civil and human rights organization, headquartered in Seattle.