LGBT groups slam Trump decision on transgender military service

LGBT rights advocacy groups slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE on Wednesday for his decision to bar transgender people from military service, calling it a “direct attack” on trans people and a “desperate action.”

“President Trump today issued a direct attack on transgender Americans, and his administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our government — even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. 

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“Today further exposed President Trump’s overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation. Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans, and this action couldn’t make that any more clear.”

In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it’s examining options on how to fight Trump’s decision, and asked transgender service members affected by today’s announcement to contact them.

“This is an outrageous and desperate action,” Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement.

Block said the issue has been studied extensively and there is no cost or military readiness drawbacks associated with allowing trans people to fight for their country.

“The president is trying to score cheap political points on the backs of military personnel who have put their lives on the line for their country,” he said.

OutServe-SLDN, an LGBT military advocacy group, said it too will fight against Trump’s ban.

“We are committed to transgender service members," the group said in a statement. “We are going to fight for them as hard as they are fighting for the country. And we’re going to start by taking the fight to Donald Trump in the Federal Court."

The Palm Center, meanwhile, said Trump is creating a worse version of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” 

“As we know from the sad history of that discredited policy, discrimination harms military readiness,” Aaron Belkin, the think tank’s director, said in a statement.

“This is a shocking and ignorant attack on our military and on transgender troops who have been serving honorably and effectively for the past year.”

Trump said Wednesday that he had consulted with generals and military experts and said the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The Palm Center, however point to research from the global policy think tank The Rand Corporation, which estimated that the cost of medical care for transgender troops is approximately one one-hundredth of 1 percent of the military annual healthcare budget, or at most $8.4 million per year.

“To claim otherwise is to lie about the data,” Belkin said.

Updated: 11:21 a.m.