Senate blocks vote on bipartisan amendment to protect the rights of transgender service members

NEW YORK –  GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today criticized the United States Senate for blocking the Gillibrand-Collins Amendment, that would have protected transgender service members from President Donald Trump’s discriminatory transgender military ban. This amendment received bipartisan support, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to bring it up for a vote during floor debate for the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

Introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), this amendment would have prevented the Department of Defense from removing or blocking the enrollment of qualified service members solely on their gender identity. McConnell’s choice to block a vote goes against recent polling showing a majority of Americans in all fifty states oppose the president’s discriminatory ban on transgender soldiers.

“Senator McConnell and Republican Senate leadership chose anti-LGBTQ animus ahead of the clear will of the American people,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “Transgender service members are expertly trained, well-qualified and deeply committed to protecting our country and the Senators who refused to speak out are not only directly attacking them, but our armed forces as a whole.”

Since President Trump’s initial tweets announcing his intent to break from the open service policy set in place after acomprehensive study including Armed Service leadership, medical experts, and advocacy groups, the Trump White House has been unable to provide any clear justification to this discriminatory policy.