Contact: Adrian N. Carver
(505)224-2766 x.700

Congresswoman Debra Haaland, Equality New Mexico, Bataan Chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico React

In a surprise ruling this morning, transgender people in the military were delivered what is hopefully a temporary injustice by the United States Supreme Court. Justices stayed injunctions on President Trump's discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. While this ruling allows the ban to go into effect, the Court did not rule on the merits or the legality of the ban, opting to wait for the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court.

"This ruling, which lifts the injunctions on the ban – even temporarily – is a slap in the face of ALL the brave people currently serving or want to serve our country," says Adrian N. Carver, Executive Director of Equality New Mexico. "Anyone who meets military standards should be able to serve. Transgender service members seek only to be evaluated on the same standards as anyone else."

This unfortunate ruling means that transgender service members will cruelly face discharges and transgender recruits will be denied enlistment opportunities while these cases proceed and until the Court has another opportunity to consider the case on the merits. 

"Our country has had Transgender Service Members serving in silence from our very first days in the Revolutionary War.  As with our LGB (lesbian, gay, and bisexual) Sisters and Brothers we have often served above and beyond the call of duty.  It is time for our country to join 19 other nations that embrace Transgender Service Members as part of their every day rank and file.” says Penn Baker, President of the Bataan Chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).

Excluding qualified service members solely because they are transgender is discrimination, and it is contrary to military values. The military’s own research shows Trump’s ban would weaken our military. It means losing qualified, trained service members and depriving the military of qualified recruits at a time when enlistment numbers are already too low.

Adrien Lawyer, Co-Director of the Transgender Resource Center of NM says, “We recognize that this action is not just an attack on the 15,000 active transgender military members, but an attack on transgender people across the country. When the livelihoods of these troops are threatened, we see a threat to the employment rights of transgender people across all sectors. When the talents and skills of these brave and valuable employees are defamed, we see a question about the worth and importance of transgender people throughout our nation.”

Trump’s cruel ban is based on discrimination, not facts. Multiple courts have recognized this, and it will ultimately be blocked for good. Transgender people have been serving with honor, many on the front lines. Transgender recruits have demonstrated their fitness to serve. They deserve our respect and gratitude, not this cruel ban.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland also weighed in by saying, “Transgender people have proudly and openly served our country for the past several years.  Yet, equality is continuously under attack by this administration. Today’s Supreme Court decision to uphold this irrational ban, is devastating for the transgender service members and enables blatant discrimination against transgender service members.  

“Preventing people from devoting their lives to their country simply due to their gender identity is a cruel affront on American values. I am incredibly disappointed by the Supreme Court’s refusal to uphold the rights of the transgender community. This irrational ban distracts from service, does nothing to promote military readiness, and directly opposes the American belief in coming together to support our country regardless of background.”