Congress is gearing up to mount a formal opposition to the Trump administration’s policy banning most trans people from serving in the military.
The House of Representatives will vote on a measure expressing their opposition to the policy next week, The Hill reports.
“[It] weakens our national security by undermining our ability to recruit and retain the talented personnel we need,” said Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in a statement announcing the upcoming vote.
The policy, which Pres. Donald Trump first proposed in a series of tweets two summers ago, had been previously halted by lower court rulings. After the Pentagon made some perfunctory changes to the policy that would allow trans people who haven’t transitioned to serve as long as they did so as their assigned gender — a technical splitting of hairs that still effectively bans most trans people — the Supreme Court gave them the go ahead earlier this year.
Recently, the Pentagon announced that the military would begin implementing this policy in April. A judge halted that decision earlier this week, but the policy’s congressional opponents don’t seem to expect that that will last forever.
“[The House] strongly urges the Department of Defense to not reinstate President Trump’s ban on transgender members of the Armed Forces [and] rejects the flawed scientific and medical claims upon which it is based,” said Rep. Joe Kennedy III in a statement to The Hill. "By implementing a ban that ignores basic science, the sworn testimony of military leadership, and mountains of research, our President and his enablers will inject intolerance into our military, demean their sacrifice and cast doubt on our commitment to that promise.”
In February, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York introduced a bipartisan bill that would allow trans people to serve openly in the military.
“President Trump’s ban on transgender service members is discrimination,” said Gillibrand, who is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for president. “We should end this discriminatory ban for good and ensure our transgender service members can continue to do their jobs, serve with dignity, and protect our country.”