The California State Assembly adopted Assembly Joint Resolution 22 Thursday condemning President Trump’s announcement that he will ban transgender individuals from serving in the military, directing the California military to not discriminate against transgender service members, and urging Defense Secretary James Mattis to allow trans service members to serve their country. The resolution is co-authored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including members of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.
“Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from serving our country is bigotry, plain and simple. It is counterproductive and does nothing to keep us safe,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. “All qualified Americans should have an equal opportunity to serve our country.”
July 26, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that the “U.S. Government would not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” citing “disruption” and “tremendous costs” related to health care for transgender service members. Last month, he signed a memo banning transgender individuals from the U.S. military and prohibiting the military from paying for gender reassignment surgeries. Mattis then announced that he is postponing implementation of the ban, saying that he will first establish a panel of experts to provide advice and recommendations on how to carry out Trump’s directive.
Although President Trump cited medical costs as one of the reasons behind the ban, a RAND Corporation study commissioned by the United States military found that medical care for transgender service members would cost approximately $8 million a year of the Pentagon’s $600 billion budget.
“It is our duty to stand up for all our troops. These are Americans who have demonstrated loyalty and unbreakable courage – they are Democrats, they are Republicans, they are from all political backgrounds, and they just want to serve and protect this great country,” said Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), a member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus and a veteran.
California hosts more than 190,000 active and reserve service people from all five branches of the United States military and is home to three army bases, seven marine bases, 10 navy bases, six air force bases and five reserve and national Coast Guard bases. Thousands of transgender troops are currently serving in our military and an unknown number are currently in combat zones.
“AJR22 sends a message that discrimination against transgender military members does not make our nation safer. All it does is exclude people from serving our country. California is moving to integrate transgender workers to make our economy stronger, and allowing transgender Americans to serve in the military makes our military stronger. The California LGBT Caucus stands with our military leaders to tell transgender Americans that their service matters to our country,” Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), Vice Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.