GLAAD can connect media to transgender service members for interviews and reaction
Majority of American public, military leaders, and service members support transgender military service; policy change has support of Pres. Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
New York, NY – Monday, January 25, 2021 – GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to the announcement that President Biden is lifting the ban on transgender military service. The ban was announced via tweet by the previous president in July 2017— immediately threatening the jobs of an estimated 14,700 trans people serving in military roles. When the policy went into effect in April 2019, around 13,700 of those people lost their jobs, and countless more trans people were discouraged from entering into military service.
Statement from Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO on President Biden’s EO today:
“GLAAD salutes transgender service members, their courage and their sacrifice. The American people, military leaders, and service members themselves, all overwhelmingly support transgender military service. They know that brave trans patriots have served throughout history and continue to serve honorably and capably, defending our country. By prioritizing an end to this discriminatory, unjustified ban, President Biden has fulfilled a campaign promise and is making our military stronger and more unified.”
GLAAD tweet: https://twitter.com/glaad/status/1353738853622960128
President Biden made lifting the ban a priority in his first days in office. His nominee for Secretary of Defense, retired General Lloyd Austin, testified his support for transgender service members in his Senate confirmation hearing last Tuesday: “I support the president’s plan… to overturn the ban. I truly believe… that if you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve, and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve.” Gen. Austin is expected to be sworn as the nation’s first Black Secretary of Defense.
Reaction from transgender servicemembers
GLAAD has followed the impact of the ban on trans servicemembers and can connect media to them upon request, including Air Force Airman First Class Sterling Crutcher and retired Army veteran Laila Ireland. SPARTA, the leading advocacy organization working for, and comprised of, transgender members of the US Armed Forces, can also connect you.
Background on the transgender military service ban
No evidence was ever produced demonstrating a need for the ban. 41 retired generals and admirals said the former president’s ban compromised military integrity. Service Chiefs of all five military branches testified that transgender-inclusive service was successful. A 2019 Quinnipiac University National Poll found an overwhelming 70% of Americans support allowing transgender Americans to serve in our nation’s armed forces. After former President Trump tweeted his intention to ban transgender people in 2017, fifty-six retired generals and admirals warned that his ban would degrade military readiness.
In a 2018 report, The Palm Center, an independent, non-partisan research institute that conducts scholarly analysis of U.S. military personnel policy with a focus on the LGBTQ population, estimated over 14,700 transgender service members were currently serving.
Since the 2017 Trump tweet, GLAAD has worked to tell the stories of dedicated transgender service members across media and at events including the GLAAD Media Awards and 2017 MTV VMAs. GLAAD also supported the production and publicity of TransMilitary, a documentary which tells the stories of trans service members serving our country. The film received the Audience Award at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and GLAAD also presented a copy of the documentary to every member of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Military Personnel before the ban was enacted in 2019. TransMilitary is available on iTunes and Amazon.
The previous President’s tweeted ban on transgender military service was among at least 181 attacks, in policy and rhetoric, deployed against LGBTQ Americans by the Trump previous administration, tallied by GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project.