On Thursday (28 March), the United States House of Representatives voted against Donald Trump’s transgender military ban.
Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), chair of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force, led the resolution rebuking the ban. He has made numerous shows of support for the trans community, from meeting with parents of trans children and bringing a trans service member to the State of the Union.
It is a non-binding resolution with no legislative power, but nonetheless displays a political show of support for transgender members of the military.
The resolution passed with a 238-185 vote and bipartisan support. Five Republicans voted in favor of the resolution, condemning Trump’s attempts at expelling transgender service members.
‘Today, this House has a chance to not repeat the mistakes of our past, to move one step closer to that sacred promise, by telling brave trans men and women in uniform that they cannot be banned from military service because of who they are,’ Kennedy said during a debate on the floor.
Only two members of Congress — both Republicans — spoke out on the floor against the resolution.
Praise for this vote
Numerous LGBTI organizations are praising the House for this vote.
OutServe-SLDN, an advocacy organization for LGBTI service members, veterans, and families, is one of them.
‘As the litigation surrounding this unnecessary and unwarranted ban continues, our brave, transgender service members remain steadfast in their selfless service and commitment to our nation,’ said OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Andy Blevins.
‘We applaud the efforts of our Congressional leaders as they work to eclipse the hostility coming from the Trump-Pence Administration and remind our service members that we see them, we are proud of them, and they will not be left behind.’
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, added: ‘Any person who wishes to serve and protect the freedoms of this country should be able to do just that – regardless of their gender identity. It’s a welcoming reassurance that the elected leaders in the U.S. House support the more than 13,000 brave transgender service members who proudly dedicate their lives to our nation.’
Human Rights Campaign National Press Secretary Sarah McBride also commended the vote.
‘Transgender service members have been serving openly throughout the US Armed Forces with distinction for years, and, with this vote, the House has made clear that they support transgender troops,’ she said.
She also urged the Senate to pass a similar vote.
History of the ban
The fight soon entered the court system.
Two members of Congress — Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) — have introduced legislation in their respective chambers to strike down the ban.