WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after the Defense Department formally implemented the Trump Administration’s discriminatory transgender service policy on Tuesday night, barring troops transgender individuals and those who require treatment for gender dysphoria from service, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a former Army Ranger and the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“The Pentagon should not move forward with this discriminatory and potentially unlawful plan to ban highly-qualified and skilled individuals from serving their country.  It is disappointing that the Trump Administration would take this action.  It demonstrates again that President Trump puts politics ahead of national security and what is best for our troops,” said Senator Reed.  “There are thousands of transgender Americans serving in our Armed Forces today with courage, honor, and distinction.  Our troops defend the rights and freedoms of all Americans.  We must not allow bigotry to impede our military’s critical mission.”

Earlier this year, Reed, along with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced bipartisan legislation to protect transgender service members.  Their bill would protect currently serving transgender service members and continue to allow new transgender service members to join the military.  The Senators introduced similar bipartisan legislation with the late Senator John McCain last Congress to defend transgender troops.

The Chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force and the Commandant of the Marine Corps all testified that open transgender service has had no negative effect on unit cohesion, discipline, or morale.  The Commandant of the Coast Guard separately testified to the same effect.  This legislation has been updated to protect all current and future transgender Americans who meet the standards and want to serve in the Armed Forces.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.