What You Need to Know: President Trump’s Ban on Transgender Service Members

An overwhelming majority – 70% of Americans – support allowing transgender Americans to serve in our nation’s armed forces

More than 13,000 transgender service members in active duty will be affected by the Trump Administration’s ban

ICYMI: GLAAD hosts screening of TransMilitary on Capitol Hill last week – Speaker Pelosi: “the ban is an act of cruelty

NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today issued the following report to the media, providing them a detailed outline of President Donald Trump’s ban on allowing transgender Americans from serving in the country’s armed forces. This report includes a timeline of the ban since the announcement, and how it is expected to impact transgender Americans – including those currently serving the nation.

The ban, which has been panned universally by the public – including the late U.S. Senator John McCain, is expected to be implemented this Friday, April 12. To speak with a transgender service member who may be affected by the Trump Administration’s ban, contact Drew Anderson at danderson@glaad.org.


With permission from OutServe-SLDN, and through their coalition SPARTA, Lambda Legal, and other LGBTQ advocacy organizations, GLAAD provides this brief summary of how this ban will harm transgender Americans once the Trump Administration’s ban is enforced this Friday:

  1. Any transgender person in active service (active duty, reserve, and National Guard) who comes out publicly as transgender and seeks to transition will face discharge.
  2. Currently-serving transgender troops who came out as transgender before April 12, 2019 in reliance on the open service policy will not face discharge, but will be forced to serve under an official policy that deems them unfit despite their demonstrated ability to meet military standards.
  3. Transgender Americans will be barred from further enlistment.


Below is a brief summary of events that occurred the moment President Trump announced his ban on transgender Americans from serving for the nation’s armed forces. For an extensive timeline which includes ongoing litigation surrounding the ban, go to https://notransmilitaryban.org/timeline/.

July 26, 2017: President Trump announces his ban directive via Twitter.

July 26, 2017: The White House blasts press release citing a news article describing being transgender as a “psychological disorder.”

August 25, 2017: President Trump officially directs the Pentagon to move forward with his ban on transgender service members openly serving in the U.S. Military.

September 11, 2017: U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Susan Collins, and John McCain announce new legislation which would reverse President Trump’s ban on transgender service members.

March 23, 2018: President Trump issued an order, also known as the “Mattis Plan,” to implement the ban on transgender Americans from serving in the nation’s armed forces.

March 23, 2018: Reporting revealed the Trump Administration worked closely with Tony Perkins, head of the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council, to draft their latest policy on the transgender service member ban.

November 23, 2018: The Trump Administration asks the United States Supreme Court to circumvent federal appeals courts and issue a ruling on transgender Americans’ right to serve in the military.

January 22, 2019: The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision allowing the Trump Administration to begin implementing its ban on transgender Americans from serving in the nation’s armed forces.

February 7, 2019: U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Susan Collins reintroduce legislation to reverse President Trump’s ban on transgender service members.

February 27, 2019: During a House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on the administration’s ban on transgender services members from serving openly in the armed forces, Trump Administration officials used derogatory phrases such as “a transgender,” but they also called gender-confirmation surgery a “disqualifying surgery,” comparing it to having cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.

March 12, 2019: In a late-night decision, the Trump Administration announces plans to implement its ban on transgender service members from openly serving in the country's armed forces according to their gender identity, impacting more than 13,000 service members currently who are enlisted.

April 12, 2019: President Trump’s ban which would prevent transgender service members from openly serving their country will go into effect.


Not only has GLAAD condemned the administration’s attempt to prevent transgender Americans from serving the United States, but GLAAD also supported the production and publicity of TransMilitary, a documentary which tells the stories about the brave trans soldiers currently our country. GLAAD presented a copy of the documentary to every member of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Military Personnel ahead of the subcommittee’s hearing on the topic on February 27. TransMilitary is now available on iTunes and Amazon.

The Trump Administration’s ban on transgender service members are a part of the more than 100 attacks the administration has made against LGBTQ Americans in policy or rhetoric since 2017. To see the entire list of attacks on Trump’s attacks on LGBTQ Americans and for more information on GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project, go to www.glaad.org/trump