Equality California: Purge of Transgender Service Members Has No Place in Democratic America

Los Angeles - August 25, 2017 – In response to a memo issued today by the White House on the expulsion of transgender service members from the U.S. military, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:

"This purge of heroic servicemembers by a man who himself avoided military service is unfair, cruel and un-American. The proposed expulsions violate the very values that make us American, including equal opportunity and protection under the law and the ability of each of us to rise to the levels of our own talents. Trump has joined the ranks of Tayyip Recep Erdogan, Kim Jong-un and other modern autocrats who resort to purges and targeting of vulnerable communities to distract the public and to maintain their hold on power. He also has sent a clear message to LGBTQ people that his government does not consider our community to be worthy of equal treatment under the law but instead to be second class citizens. The guidance issued by the White House, if implemented, would represent a significant step backwards in the movement for LGBTQ civil rights which Equality California will fight with all its resources.

With today's memo, Trump has attacked American heroes who have already risen above discrimination, hostility and lack of acceptance to serve our country by putting their lives on the line in its defense. The proposed denial of essential medical care for transgender servicemembers is both cruel and unconstitutional. To the contrary of his stated justification, purging the military of highly-skilled transgender servicemembers would have a deleterious effect on military readiness and has been vocally opposed by dozens of current and former military officials.

The expulsion of skilled, loyal troops itself damages effectiveness and unit cohesion and involves substantial costs in troop replacement and training and will harm military readiness. Preventing the enlistment of transgender people in the military bars them from opportunities to serve our country available to all other Americans and to improve their lives through careers in the military. This low appeal to hatred and un-American values, consistent with his defense of white supremacists and neo-nazis in Charlottesville, confirms that his chaotic presidency is propped up by a malignant ideology of hate, racism, religious intolerance and homo- and transphobia."

Equality California is the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org

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