Trump’s military trans ban sparks protest

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Demonstrators flooded Times Square in response to Trump’s Twitter announcement


  • Hundreds of protesters assembled in Times Square Wednesday in response to President Trump’s announcement of a ban on transgender military service. Photo: Michael Garofalo

Hundreds gathered in Times Square early Wednesday evening to protest President Donald Trump’s announcement that transgender people would be barred from military service. Holding signs with slogans like “Resist” and “We Object,” protesters filled the plaza in front of the U.S. Armed Forces recruiting station near 43rd Street and Broadway to voice their opposition to the policy change.

In a series of tweets sent Wednesday morning, Trump wrote that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” Trump tweeted.

Following Trump’s announcement, a coalition of advocacy groups and politicians joined together to organize and sponsor the Times Square event, including Equality New York, Rise and Resist, the New York Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal. A number of politicians and activists spoke at the event, including Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Member Corey Johnson, and Tanya Walker, a transgender woman and U.S. Army veteran. “I did not obstruct the government by serving in the military,” Walker said, to cheers from the crowd.

“It’s very important that anybody who wants to serve our country gets a chance to serve it,” she added.

The ban would mark a departure from the policy of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, whose administration announced last year that transgender people could serve openly in the military. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the New York Times Thursday that no changes will take effect until the White House takes official steps to revise Defense Department rules.

Also in attendance was city council candidate Mel Wymore, who is challenging incumbent Helen Rosenthal for the District 6 seat and if elected would become the first transgender person to serve in the council. “I’m running because I want to serve my community, like every single member of the armed forces wants to serve their country,” he said. “Today, Trump made it very clear that he doesn’t want service from people like me.”

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