New York, NY – The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) opposes President Trump’s new memorandum, which directs the Defense Department to bar transgender individuals from enlisting in the military and to determine how to address transgender personnel already serving in our armed forces.
We believe that qualifications for military service should be based on individual military conduct and performance rather than on an individual’s beliefs or characteristics, including gender identity.
We commend the many top military officials, such as Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft, who have already declared their opposition. Shortly after the President first tweeted about his plan to bar transgender troops, 56 retired Generals and Admirals penned a letter arguing that if implemented, the proposed ban would “cause significant disruptions, deprive the military of mission-critical talent, and […] degrade readiness even more than the failed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.”
Throughout our history, JCPA has worked to extend and expand civil rights protections, such as those based on an individual’s real or perceived gender identity. Reinstating the ban on transgender individuals serving in our armed forces is a step backward in that fight. We strongly encourage the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security not to reinstate this ban and instead protect the rights of transgender individuals who currently serve or seek to serve in our military.