As President Trump’s ban on most transgender individuals’ serving in the military took effect on Friday, prominent Democrats lashed out at the policy.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo called the new regulation “abhorrent,” and “assault on our nation’s commitment to ensuring equal rights for all.” Trump’s 2016 general-election opponent Hillary Clinton said, “Every American should be able to serve their country, and I can’t believe we’re still debating that in 2019. We have to reverse this as soon as we can.”
The ban prohibits transgender individuals from serving openly in any branch of the U.S. military and “blocks all use of DoD or DHS resources to fund sex reassignment surgical procedures.” No person diagnosed with gender dysphoria who has received hormone or surgical treatment for the condition will be allowed to serve, but those so diagnosed may join if they have not received such treatment. The up to 15,000 transgender troops already serving openly will be allowed to continue at their posts.
The Supreme Court ruled in January the administration could enforce the ban, which had faced fierce legal challenges from activist groups.
Several Democratic presidential candidates joined Cuomo and Clinton in blasting the policy on Friday.
“Let me be very clear: If someone can handle the job, they should be allowed to serve—regardless of how they identify or who they love,” Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote on Twitter. “We’ll stand with service members and fight this cruelty with everything we’ve got.”
Senator Kamala Harris called the policy “reprehensible, vile, and discriminatory,” and added, “To the transgender Americans who serve in our Armed Forces: You deserve better.”