New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, and Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, introduced a bipartisan amendment to protect transgender service members from President Trump’s plan to ban from the military.
The amendment introduced Monday would prohibit the Department of Defense from dismissing current transgender service members “solely on the basis of the member’s gender identity,” Senators said in a statement.
“Any individual who wants to join our military and meets the standards should be allowed to serve, period. Gender identity should have nothing to do with it,” Gillibrand, a Democrat, said in a statement. “If individuals are willing to put on the uniform of our country, be deployed in war zones, and risk their lives for our freedoms, then we should be expressing our gratitude to them, not trying to exclude them from military service,” said Collins, a Republican.
President Donald Trump announced in July that the government wouldn’t accept transgender people to service in the military.
“We want to serve, we’re proud to serve,” said Danielle Twomey, a transgender woman who served five years in the Air Force.
Twomey said it’s a “big deal” for a Republican senator like Collins to break from the president and fight for transgender troops. But she calls the amendment “a start.” Twomey wants to see those same protections applied to people trying to enlist.
“This is only applying to those that are in the military,” Twomey said. “So for me, it’s sort of halfway there.”