Mattis claims Joint Chiefs had no input on trans service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: James Mattis. Public domain photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm.

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis continues to defend the transgender military ban, making a dubious claim the military service chiefs had no input when openly transgender service was implemented during the Obama years.

Mattis made the remarks in an interview with Time Magazine on the publication of his book, “Call Sign Chaos” in response to a question about why he agreed to roll back policy allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

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Trump defense pick rebuked for ‘misleading’ testimony on trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Trump’s defense nominee Mark Esper is being criticized for “misleading” comments on the trans military ban. (Image public domain)

President Trump’s choice to become the next secretary of defense Mark Esper was rebuked July 16 during his confirmation hearing for “misleading” testimony in which he asserted transgender people who “can meet the standards with special accommodations” can serve in the military.

Esper made the comments, which largely defer to the Trump administration’s anti-trans report on transgender people in the military, in response to written responses to advance policy questions made public the day he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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DOD unveils plan to initiate Trump transgender policy on April 12

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With court orders barring President Trump from enforcing his transgender military ban out of the way, the Defense Department late March 12 unveiled its plan to make the policy a reality, announcing it would begin April 12.

15-page memo signed by David Norquirst, who’s performing the duties of deputy secretary of defense, spells out the timeline, procedures and potential exemptions for implementing the plan ordered by Trump and created by former Defense Secretary James Mattis.

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Rep. Kennedy leads congressional resolution against Trump trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) is set to introduce a resolution in the U.S. House rejecting President Trump’s transgender military ban as a discriminatory policy based on junk science, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

Kennedy, chair of the Congressional Transgender Task Force, is set to introduce the non-binding resolution against the policy in the U.S. House on Feb 11. A Kennedy aide said 103 co-sponsors have signed on to the legislation, but that list is expected to grow.

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Gillibrand vows to introduce 2.0 bill against Trump’s trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the aftermath of orders from the U.S. Supreme Court allowing the President Trump’s transgender military ban to go into effect, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has vowed to introduce updated legislation to ensure transgender people can serve and enlist in the U.S. armed forces.

Gillibrand, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said Jan. 22 she’d introduced the legislation in the U.S. Senate, recalling an earlier version of legislation she introduced with the late Sen. John McCain.

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Trump admin turns to Supreme Court to ban trans people from military

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With court orders in place from four judges barring the U.S. military from enacting President Trump’s transgender ban, the Trump administration is seeking recourse from the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the policy to go into effect.

U.S. Solicitor General Neil Francisco submitted petitions Nov. 23 for certiorari in three cases calling on the court to review the litigation and reverse the preliminary injunctions enjoining enforcement of Trump’s transgender ban.

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Awkward tension as Pentagon hosts Pride while pushing to ban trans members

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Pride is supposed to be a time for celebration, but there was palpable tension Monday at the annual Defense Department Pride event as LGBTQ civilians and members of the armed forces recognized the occasion.

The event — hosted by DOD Pride, an affinity group for LGBTQ Pentagon employees — has been held each year within the Defense Department since 2011 when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal was certified. But the elephant in the room was President Trump’s transgender military ban. It was the first such celebration since Trump announced in July 2017 on Twitter he’d ban transgender service members “in any capacity.”

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No proclamation (again) from Trump for Pride month

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The first day of June has arrived and President Trump again declined to issue a proclamation recognizing Pride month, breaking a tradition when Democrats occupied the White House.

Meanwhile, Trump has issued proclamations in recent days recognizing National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, National Ocean Month, Great Outdoors Month, National Homeownership Month and African-American Music Appreciation Month.

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U.S. agencies to celebrate Pride month, but without Cabinet secretaries

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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With Pride month approaching, many U.S. agencies in the second year of the Trump administration are continuing plans to hold celebrations for their LGBT workers, although Cabinet leaders will be absent and some annual events are in question.

The absence of Cabinet leaders at these events stands in contrast to the Obama years when they were featured speakers at the celebrations, wished LGBT federal workers a happy Pride and reflected on the significance of the annual event.

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Bipartisan amendment introduced against Trump’s trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers seeking to amend a defense bill against Trump’s trans military ban. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed an amendment to major defense policy legislation that would abrogate President Trump’s ban on transgender military service.

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Army chief of staff undermines DOD report against transgender service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley. Photo public domain.

The top uniformed official in the U.S. Army on Thursday undermined recommendations from Defense Secretary James Mattis against transgender military service — which led to President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the armed forces — by asserting their presence has had no negative impact on unit cohesion

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Speaker Ryan becomes latest Republican to announce retirement

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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With Republicans fretting about losing control of Congress in the mid-term elections, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has announced he won’t seek re-election, leaving an uneven record on LGBTQ rights and the door open for another Republican to take his place as leader of his caucus.

The 10-term member of Congress, who has served as speaker since 2015, announced during a news conference Wednesday he wouldn’t seek re-election to represent Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district in order to spend more time with his family, confirming news reports about his intended plan earlier in the day.

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