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Transgender Military Ban: Foster, Duckworth Blast Trump Tweets

Jul 27, 2017
In The News

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Democrat representing the 11th District of Illinois, fired back after President Trump's Wednesday morning tweets announcing a ban on transgender people in the military. In a series of messages posted around 8 a.m. Central, the president said transgender individuals will not be allowed to serve in the U.S. armed forces.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump tweeted. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

About an hour later, Foster responded with a tweet of his own saying he condemned the president's "bigoted proposed ban." In a statement, Foster called on Congress to take action against the ban, saying, “Transgender individuals serve our country honorably and are vital to our national security at home and abroad. If implemented, this new bigoted policy would only make us less safe. ... During his campaign, the President promised he would do everything to protect LGBTQ communities. It is a shame that he has broken this promise and now singles out members of this community as second class citizens."

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was wounded in the line of duty, also responded to Trump's announcement.

"When my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down, I didn't care about the gender identity of the Soldiers who were risking their lives to save me," she wrote. "I only cared that they were American troops — and that they were there to rescue me." Duckworth added, "If you're willing to risk your life for our nation&can do the job, the military (should) welcome you so you can help keep our nation safe—PERIOD."

The House of Representatives recently voted down a bill that would have barred the military from funding gender-reassignment surgery for transgender service members. The military's current policy states, "Transgender Service members may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military solely for being transgender individuals."

A RAND Corporation study commissioned by the Defense Department found that between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender individuals already serve in the military — "a fraction of one percent of the total force" — and that letting them serve openly with access to military health care would represent an “overwhelmingly small”percentage of military spending.

Foster's district includes Aurora, Joliet and most of Naperville.