Prominent members of the transgender community have been speaking out against Donald Trump’s highly controversial announcement to ban trans people from serving in the US military “in any capacity”.
The US president declared on Twitter that the US military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”.
Trump’s proposal, which contradicts the pledge he made during his campaign to fight for LGBT issues, is a reversal of the Obama administration’s decision last year to allow trans individuals to serve openly in the army.
Thousands of transgender Americans currently serve in the US military, and defence officials say as many as 250 service members have been approved to change gender, or are currently transitioning.
Chelsea Manning, a former member of the US army, called out the military’s “cowardice”:
She was released from prison earlier this year after serving seven years for disclosing military documents to WikiLeaks. Her sentence was commuted by former president Barack Obama.
Writer and activist Janet Mock said trans people had made sacrifices and done “vital work, unlike” the current president:
Reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, who came out as a transgender woman in 2015, asked: “What happened to your promise to fight” for them?”
Jenner has previously declared her support for the Republican party.
American actress Candis Cayne tweeted:
Writer and producer Jen Richards, who starred on Caitlyn Jenner’s reality TV show I Am Cait, alongside Cayne, wrote on Twitter:
Lawyer and activist Chase Strangio, who has represented Chelsea Manning since 2013, wrote:
Orange Is the New Black star, Laverne Cox, took to Instagram to call for people to unite and “send the message” to Americans that “trans lives, safety and service are valuable (and) they matter”.
She also thanked trans members of the army for their service.