In late July, Trump announced on Twitter that he would be kicking transgender troops out of the military.
The policy, which he decided on a whim apparently after watching a Tucker Carlson segment, blindsided Pentagon officials and drew widespread condemnation from lawmakers in both parties, but despite misleading initial media reports, Defense Secretary James Mattis is moving forward as Trump directed.
But now, a bipartisan pair of women in the Senate have introduced an amendment to stop implementation of the ban.
Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Republican Susan Collins of Maine seek to attach an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act this week that would block the military from discharging soldiers based solely on gender identity.
The NDAA, which will be debated this week, is the annual omnibus package that authorizes the entire military budget. There is no guarantee the amendment will pass or even get a vote, but if it does, Trump will have little leverage to veto it.
The bipartisan backing for this amendment reflects the fact that Trump’s ban has no basis except in bigotry.
There is no evidence gender identity reduces capacity to serve, and thousands of trans soldiers have served with distinction, including a decorated Navy SEAL who raided Taliban hideouts in Afghanistan.
Moreover, the cost of providing therapy and surgery to every trans soldier, roughly $8 million, is a fraction of the $60 million Trump has spent so far on vacations to his Florida country club.
Gillibrand and Collins are sending a clear message that bigotry and LGBT discrimination should not be a partisan battle. It is time for GOP lawmakers to go on the record and decide where they stand.