Bipartisan legislation introduced to protect trans servicemembers

By : Karen Ocamb of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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California Reps. Jackie Speier and Susan Davis joined four other members of Congress on Friday to introduce a bipartisan bill intended to protect transgender military servicemembers under siege by the Trump administration. H.R. 4041 prohibits the Department of Defense from discharging trans members of the Armed Forces based solely on their gender identity.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has repeatedly said the current policy of trans open service remains in effect until he has had a chance to develop a policy, under President Trump’s orders, based on recommendations from a panel of experts. Trans servicemembers have been serving openly since June 2016 without incident. However, in a sudden series of tweets last July 26, Trump issued a directive ordering Mattis and the Pentagon to reverse the Obama-era policy and kick out all transgender individuals working in any capacity and prevent any recruitment or promotion through the accessions policy. Trump gave Mattis six months to come up with a new personnel policy, while Mattis is simultaneously preparing for the possibility of nuclear war. LGBT groups have urged Mattis to recruit trans people with military or national security experience to sit on that panel of experts.

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