The Los Angeles LGBT Center blasted President Donald Trump on Friday for signing a directive aimed at banning transgender people from serving in the US military.
It was just last year that then-President Barack Obama’s administration announced that transgender people could serve openly. Trump last month tweeted his intention to halt that plan.
Trump’s signing came on the same day he pardoned Joe Arpaio, former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who was found guilty of criminal contempt for disregarding a court order in a racial profiling case.
Center Chief of Staff Darrell Cummings said in a statement: “As President Trump pardons ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a criminal the president says was ‘convicted for doing his job,’ he is issuing orders to prevent transgender people from doing their job to serve our country in the military.
“While he pardons a convicted felon and refers to white supremacists as fine people, our commander-in-chief is ostracizing the thousands of dedicated, hard-working transgender service members willing to lay down their life for our country and, against the recommendation of an overwhelming number of military leaders, prevent them from fighting for our country.
“In the history of our nation, has there ever been a time when we’ve been led by such a reckless, bigoted, ignorant, and morally bankrupt president?
“The military leadership and those in Congress must now stand unequivocally against the acts of prejudice that this order amplifies and which seem to come easy to this president. His un-American agenda of hate and discrimination must be ended.”
Trump first announced his intent to implement the discriminatory ban on July 26 through a series of morning posts on Twitter: “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.”
He added: “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.”
Last month, the Center hosted a press conference to slam Trump for his intentions and later a community gathering at which people sent messages to the troops and wrote postcards to legislators expressing their opposition to the ban.
There are approximately 15,000 transgender people actively serving in the US military and there are another 134,000 transgender veterans alive today, according to The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.