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100+ Members of Congress Wrote Sec. Mattis Seeking Information on Transgender Military Ban

GLAD and NCLR praise congressional demand for answers

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(WASHINGTON, D.C., October 10, 2017)—More than 100 Members of Congress wrote to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asking him to provide any “discussions or correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon” that purportedly informed President Trump’s decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), who have been at the center of the legal fight against the ban, commended the Members’ action. The military studied this issue for nearly a year and concluded that transgender service members serving openly benefits the military and promotes military readiness. The ban has been met with opposition and criticism from the highest ranking military officers as well as countless service members, veterans, and bipartisan members of Congress.

NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter and GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi issued the following statement in response:

“The President’s abrupt decision to override the military’s carefully considered policy on transgender service members showed a shocking disregard not only for the thousands of currently serving transgender troops, including those deployed overseas, but also for the experience and expertise of military leaders.

We commend the more than 100 Members of Congress who are demanding answers about why the President reversed military policy without input from military advisers. The President’s blatant disregard for military judgment destabilizes military operations and weakens our Armed Forces.

Every day this ban is allowed to stay in place, our national security is undermined and transgender service members who have proved their fitness to serve are being unfairly targeted and demeaned. That’s why we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to end this discriminatory and harmful ban.”

In the weeks since the president announced his intention to implement a discriminatory and reckless policy to block transgender people from serving in the military, NCLR and GLAD have filed a motion asking the courts to block the president’s policy, and are leading two of the four legal suits filed against the president—representing nearly a dozen transgender servicemembers, from coast to coast.


Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.


Amanda Johnston, Director of Public Affairs & Education, GLAD / (617) 417-7769

Lauren Gray, Communications Director, NCLR / (215) 983-3099