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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House to vote on amendment to defund Trump trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), on left, and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), second from right, join transgender service members in the Capitol Rotunda before the State of the Union Address on Feb. 5, 2019. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The U.S. House is set to vote on a measure that would prohibit use of U.S. funds to implement President Trump’s transgender military ban.

The House Rules Committee this week approved for debate as part of defense appropriations legislation an amendment introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) that would bar the use of funds to implement the anti-trans policy.

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Trump defends trans military ban: ‘They take massive amounts of drugs’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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In the aftermath of his tweet wishing LGBT Americans a happy Pride, President Trump defended his transgender military ban, asserting the policy is necessary because “they take massive amounts of drugs.”

Trump made the comments June 5 during his trip to the United Kingdom in an interview with Piers Morgan on “Good Morning Britain,” who asked him about the anti-trans policy.

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LGBT legal groups urge Supreme Court to resist Trump on trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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LGBT legal groups urged the U.S. Supreme Court to decline to intervene in cases challenging President Trump’s transgender military ban, asserting action at this point would amount to “short-circuiting” the litigation process.

The groups submitted the briefs in response to two separate filings from the U.S. Justice Department under the Trump administration, one calling on the Supreme Court to take up the cases on a interlocutory basisanother calling for a stay on lower court orders against the ban.

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Woodward book: Trump surprised top staff with trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The new book by journalist Bob Woodward depicting chaos in the White House asserts President Trump announced his transgender military ban before hearing from officials during a planned meeting as he privately made anti-trans remarks describing gender reassignment surgery as “getting clipped,” according to a report in the Washington Examiner.

When Trump announced in a tweet in July 2017 he’d ban transgender people from the U.S. military “in any capacity,” he said he’d consulted military experts on the issue. However, the book — “Fear: Trump in the White House” — reportedly says Trump made the announcement before a planned meeting with top officials on options for transgender service.

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Who’s to blame for trans military ban: Mattis or Pence?

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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When President Trump reaffirmed his ban on transgender military service last Friday, the memo was backed up by a report from Defense Secretary James Mattis in which he asserted that a nine-month review of the issue revealed “substantial risks” in allowing transgender people in the U.S. military. But was it really his doing, or that of Vice President Mike Pence, who has a virulent anti-LGBT record?

Upon the release of the memo, many were surprised Mattis — who’s seen as one of the more mature voices in the Trump administration — was found to have signed his name to a document against transgender military service. After all, media reports from the time the memo was delivered in February indicated Mattis would advise Trump to allow transgender people to keep serving.

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Lawmakers seek proof Pentagon advised Trump on trans military ban

By : Karen Ocamb of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Virginia Rep. A. Donald McEachin is spearheading a call for all correspondence and documentation from the Pentagon to show the process that informed President Trump’s directive to institute a ban on all transgender military service.

In a letter to Defense Sec. Jim Mattis dated Oct. 10 and signed by 114 members of Congress, including many from California, McEachin writes: “We request information about what discussions or correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon, if any, led President Trump to make his assertion. If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes or other materials that document such requests.”

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Trump administration: Legal challenge to trans military ban ‘premature’

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The Trump administration called a legal challenge to President Trump’s transgender military ban “premature several times over” in a brief filed late Wednesday seeking to block LGBT legal groups from putting the policy on hold as litigation against it moves forward.

In a 49-page filing, the U.S. Justice Department responds to a request for a preliminary injunction in Doe v. Trump, the lawsuit filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders pending before federal court in D.C. The lawsuit was assigned to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, a Clinton appointee.

The brief takes issue with the filing of the lawsuit, noting it was filed after Trump tweeted he’d ban transgender service members, but before he formally directed the Pentagon to take that action in a White House memo.

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It’s official: Trump directs Pentagon to enact trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Nearly one month after announcing via Twitter he’d ban transgender people from U.S. military, President Trump made good on his promise in a memo to the Pentagon Friday enacting a ban on their service — although the fate of transgender people currently in the armed forces remains to be seen.

In a memo to the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security dated Aug. 25, Trump asserts the Obama administration “failed to identify a sufficient basis” to end the ban on transgender military service in June 2016 and directs the U.S. military to put the prohibition back in place.

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White House gives Pentagon six months to create new trans military ban policy

By : Karen Ocamb of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: A U.S. Army sergeant flies the American flag from the back of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter over southern Kandahar province, Afghanistan. The pilots and crew chiefs fly American flags to present with certificates to service members as part of aviation tradition. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Bryan Lewis)

White House guidance on the transgender military service ban President Trump ordered via tweet July 26 is headed to the Pentagon, as soon as Thursday afternoon or possibly Friday morning, a senior White House source told the Los Angeles Blade.

The Guidance has been boiled down to a 2½-page memo that directs Defense Sec. Mattis to come up with a policy in six months, stop spending money on transgender-related medical treatment for active duty trans servicemembers and gauges fitness for service based on “deployability”—whether the trans individual can ably serve in a war zone and engage in military exercises or function a ship for months, officials told the Wall Street Journal.

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Kellyanne Conway won’t say if generals OK with trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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As the Pentagon continues to allow transgender people to serve despite President Trump’s announcement he’ll ban them from the U.S. military, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway refused to say Sunday whether senior defense officials signed off on the policy before the president’s proclamation.

Conway dodged on the issue during an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week” when pressed by host George Stephanopoulos on which generals and military experts signed off on the proposed ban.

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White House issues guidance on Trump’s trans military ban

By : Karen Ocamb of The Washington Blade, Courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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President Donald Trump may be on a 17- day vacation but his White House has been scrambling to hand him a “win” by the time he returns. Trump’s tweets last week announcing a ban on transgender individuals serving openly in the U.S. military was turned into a “guidance” policy for implementation that passed muster with the White House Counsel’s office Friday night.

Approved by Trump, the new policy is expected to be now delivered into the hands of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has been quiet on the issue with approximately 15,000 trans service members under his command.

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