US Senator leading effort to overturn transgender military ban

2 NEWS Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (WDTN) – One U.S. Senator is leading an effort to allow transgender people to serve in the U.S. military. Their bill would overturn the President’s order to ban transgender men and women from most military service.

Mara Keisling with the National Center for Transgender Equality says President Trump’s ban on transgender troops is foolish and unconstitutional.

“It cannot be good for national defense, it cannot be good for military readiness or lethality,” Keisling said.

The Supreme Court recently upheld the ban, but transgender advocates are fighting back and they have some allies on Capitol Hill.

Rhode Island Sentator Jack Reed has co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to reverse President Trump’s ban.  Reed says if you meet the qualifications you should be able to serve regardless of gender identity.

“We have transgender troops that are performing admirably today and ironically they’re going to be allowed to stay under this policy,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any reason to bar someone because they’re transgender.”

But others agree with the President’s ban. The Family Research Council has concerns about transgender troops military readiness, and they say the legislation is misguided.

Peter Sprigg with the Family Research Council says the ban should stand.

“There are significant mental health problems associated with gender dysphoria and these pose a threat to military readiness and people’s ability to deploy,” Sprigg said. “The restriction placed upon those with gender dysphoria is entirely consistent with a range of other similar restrictions on military service.”

Advocates say the fight isn’t over as the lower courts determine the constitutionality of the ban.

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