Earlier today, President Trump announced in a series of tweets that transgender individuals would no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. armed forces, a seeming reversal of a policy issued under the previous administration. That policy is currently under review by the Pentagon; it is unclear what effect the President’s statements will have on that process. LDF President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill issued the following statement:
“Sixty-nine years ago to the day, President Truman integrated America’s armed forces, making clear that those who defend our rights and liberties should not be denied them. President Truman’s historic decision strengthened our military, improved our standing overseas, and accelerated integration here at home.
“President Trump’s tweet banning transgender individuals would be shameful on any day, but it is doubly so as we mark this important milestone in American history. By abruptly reversing a non-discrimination policy that was still under review – and by announcing it by tweet – the President has shown his contempt for the significance of this history.
“We urge the President to reconsider his statement and to allow the Pentagon to complete its review. Moreover, we urge the President to ensure that the service of those transgender individuals currently serving in our armed forces is afforded respect and dignity. But above all, we urge him to learn the lesson taught by today’s anniversary: that America’s diversity is its strength, both on the battlefield and off it.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.