Donald Trump

Trump Faces Backlash In The Wake Of Military Transgender Ban

US president Donald Trump has said transgender people will not be allowed to serve "in any capacity" in the US military.

Donald Trump

POTUS Donald Trump is facing backlash in the wake of his announcement that transgender people will not be allowed to serve "in any capacity" in the US military. 

He blamed "medical costs and disruption" as the reason for the decision. 

Demonstrators have flocked to a military recruiting station in New York City and a plaza named after a San Francisco gay rights icon to protest against the sudden ban, which Trump announced in a tweet: 

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.

Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you"

Demonstrator Yael Leberman argued that transgender people "are completely adequate to serve", going on to say that republican Mr Trump's announcement was unsurprising, as was the reaction from New York's public. 

It is unclear as yet what the ban means for transgender people currently serving in the US military. 

Caroline Paige, the first openly transgender officer in the British Forces has spoken to Forces Radio BFBS' Sitrep about Trump's tweets:

The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that there are more than 134,000 American veterans are transgender, and over 15,000 trans people are serving in the US Military today.

A smaller gathering also took place in the LA LGBT Center in Hollywood, at which US Army Reservist and transgender man Rudy Akbarain said that he was 'heartbroken' to hear the news: 

The five-year military veteran said he was "heartbroken" to learn it was real.

"There are people who are retiring in the military, there are people who've done 18, 19 years and are about to retire and now it's all taken away from them," he said.

"It's not fair."

"I know it's not over," he said. "I know we're not going to give up."

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock has also been showing his solidarity for the LGBT community through twitter: 

The ban on transgender soldiers serving in the US military was lifted in 2016.

Then Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said:

“Starting today, otherwise qualified service members can no longer be in voluntarily separated discharged or denied reenlistment or continuation of service just for being transgender.”

Former Defense secretary, Ash Carter, ended the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military in 2016.

In a statement disagreeing with the ban, he said: "To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military.

"There are already transgender individuals who are serving capably and honorably.

"This action would also send the wrong signal to a younger generation thinking about military service.”

Commander of UK Maritime Forces, Rear Admiral Alex J. Burton tweeted saying he's "so glad we are not going this way". 

An MOD spokesperson said:

“US military recruitment policy is a matter for the US and is not something we would comment on.

"We are clear that all LGBT+ members of our Armed Forces play a vital role in keeping our nation safe.

“We will continue to welcome people from a diverse range of backgrounds, including transgender personnel.”

In 2011, the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy which banned openly gay, lesbian and bisexual citizens serving in the US military was repealed by congress.  

The controversial policy was first introduced in 1993 by President Clinton.

It did not, however, affect transgender individuals.

Openly LGB citizens have been able to serve in the US military since September 2011.