The seven remaining Democratic presidential candidates have all said they would overturn Donald Trump’s ban on trans people in the military.
Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Mike Bloomberg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer have all said they would reverse the policy imposed by Trump in 2017 to ban trans people from serving in the armed forces.
Responding to a survey from the Human Rights Campaign, the candidates indicated that they would rescind the Trump policy and adopt new regulations allowing open service by all, qualified transgender people.
Buttigieg said: “I will immediately repeal the ban on military service for trans Americans and allow our transgender troops to serve openly.”
Warren added: “I have opposed the Trump administration’s shameful ban on transgender service members from the start, and I will reverse it on day one. The only thing that should matter when it comes to allowing military personnel to serve is whether or not they can handle the job. That’s also true for service members with HIV.
“Advances in care and treatment have made it possible for individuals living with HIV to serve and deploy, and the Pentagon’s policies should be updated to reflect these advances in medical science.”
Biden said: “It’s simple: every American who is qualified to serve, should be able to – and we should all be grateful for their service and courage.
“On day one of my presidency, I will direct the department of defense to allow transgender service members to serve openly and free from discrimination. I know that this is not just the right thing to do, but it’s in our national interest.”
Mike Bloomberg said: “I will reverse the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military and rescind the exclusion of coverage of gender-affirming care in the veterans health administration.”
The Sanders campaign confirmed: “As president, Bernie will rescind Trump’s disgraceful ban on transgender people from serving in the military and issue new regulations allowing open service by transgender people.”
The response from Klobuchar’s team said: “Senator Klobuchar will immediately lift the ban preventing qualified transgender people from serving in the military. She will also expedite the process for service members who were discharged for no other reason than their sexual orientation or gender identity to correct negative discharges in order to reflect their honourable service.”
Steyer indicated he would scrap the ban but did not provide a further quote.
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All the candidates have also pledged to sign the equality act, a bill to introduce federal LGBT+ non-discrimination protections that has been blocked by Republicans in the Senate, and to oppose efforts that allow individuals to use their religious beliefs as a justification for anti-LGBT discrimination.
Fox News favourite Tulsi Gabbard is AWOL from contest.
HRC notes that fringe candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who is yet to formally withdraw from the presidential race despite not appearing on a debate stage since November, did not respond to the survey, adding: “Should her campaign send responses, we will update the web site accordingly.”
It is unclear if the frequent Fox News guest, who has historical ties to anti-LGBT+ groups, plans to stay in the race after flatlining in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, while polling just one per cent nationally.
HRC president Alphonso David said: “LGBTQ people are among the most politically engaged constituencies in the country, and Democratic presidential candidates are taking notice.
“The more than 11 million LGBTQ voters and 57 million equality voters – LGBTQ voters and our allies – are crucial members of the intersectional coalition that will oust president Trump in November.”
He added: “Throughout his administration, Trump has attacked LGBTQ people at every opportunity. From eliminating access to necessary health care to actively supporting discrimination in the workplace, Trump has put LGBTQ rights at risk.
“Our community is looking for a leader that understands the challenges we face each and every day and has substantive, realistic plans to overcome them. The Trump-Pence administration must be stopped and HRC will work nationwide through November to ensure that they are.”