The Human Rights Campaign and other LGBTQ advocacy groups are launching a television ad campaign across the nation Friday demanding that “impulsive president” Donald Trump drop his attempt to ban transgender service members in the military.
The total ban on transgender troops demanded by Trump last summer is currently blocked by federal court rulings and has been criticized by military leaders.
The ad, titled “Patriots,” features quotes from officials slamming the ban as unconstitutional and harmful to national security. “An impulsive president tweets that transgender Americans won’t be allowed to serve,” the ad says. “But decorated military leaders say there’s no reason to single out these brave heroes.”
Matt Thorn, president and CEO of OutServe-SLDN, one of the sponsors of the ad, said in a statement that trans service members “deserve a commander-in-chief who values their commitment, their honor, their courage to this country, and their willingness to risk their lives in defense of its freedoms.”
Trump’s plan had been set to go into effect March 23, but its future is uncertain in light of the court rulings.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last month delivered his recommendations concerning trans troops to Trump, but details have not been revealed.
“The secretary of defense made his recommendation to the White House,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Dave Eastburn told HuffPost. “The recommendation was a private conversation between the secretary and the White House, and the contents of the conversation will remain private.”
Reports have suggested that Mattis would urge Trump to allow transgender troops to remain in the U.S. military. Trump’s announcement took the Pentagon by surprise. The Pentagon had lifted the ban on transgender service members in 2016 after completing an exhaustive review of its military readiness policies.
The Trump administration has been sued by nine individuals and Lambda Legal, Outserve-SLDN, HRC, Gender Justice League and the American Military Partners Association. All of the organizations are sponsoring television campaigns along with a full-page ad in USA Today and 32 Gannett newspapers around the nation.
The Pentagon said in December it would again accept openly transgender recruits Jan. 1 because of the court rulings — but reluctantly.
“This policy will be implemented while the Department of Justice appeals those court orders,” a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement. “The Department of Defense and the Department of Justice are actively pursuing relief from those court orders in order to allow an ongoing policy review scheduled to be completed before the end of March.”
The first openly transgender recruit has signed up to join the military since the court rulings blocking the ban, the Department of Defense confirmed Feb. 23.