Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement about President Trump’s announcement that he will not allow transgender people to serve in the military:
“This announcement is an unwarranted and disgraceful attack on men and women who have been bravely serving their country. These service members are defending the United States around the world as we speak, and they have long done so with distinction. To prevent transgender people from joining the military and to push out those who have devoted their lives to this country would be ugly and discriminatory in the extreme.
“Secretary of Defense Mattis is currently engaged in a six-month review of policies to bring in new transgender recruits, and he has determined that transgender people who are currently serving should continue to serve.
“On January 31, President Trump said that he ‘is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the L.G.B.T.Q. community. President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.’ What has changed since then? The inflated cost estimates that President Trump appears to be alluding to have no basis in fact, and appear to be cooked up by right-wing advocacy organizations whose real interest is not to support military readiness but to further discrimination. The cost of all hormone therapy for transgender individuals serving in the military since 2012 has been a grand total of $297,000, and there is no indication that the thousands of transgender people currently serving in the military have negatively impacted readiness.
“It takes a brave and committed person to volunteer to defend this country, and every American that is able and willing to do so should be allowed to join the U.S. military. We will fight this decision, just like we fought ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and ultimately justice will prevail.”