The conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) praised President Trump on Wednesday for saying that transgenders would not be allowed in the military, a reversal of a policy set in motion by former President Obama, who lifted a previous ban.
David Fowler, president of FACT, said in a statement that “the military is not suited for social experimentation.”
Obama had set a deadline of July 1 for fully implementing his policy, but Trump’s defense secretary had announced a six-month delay in enlisting transgender people. However, those already enlisted were allowed to transition and soldiers had started to undergo sensitivity training on welcoming soldiers of the opposite biological sex in barracks, bathrooms and showers.
In a series of tweets Wednesday, Trump said that after consulting with generals and military experts, he decided that the U.S. government “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military” so that the armed forces will not “be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Fowler’s full statement said:
President Trump has kept a campaign promise to make military preparedness the focus of our military, and I commend him for doing so.
The military is not suited for social experimentation that distracts from and diverts resources away from its singular focus—military preparedness against threats by foreign military powers—particularly at a time when those threats are increasing around the globe.
Tennessee LGBT activists lashed out at Trump for his decision.
On Facebook, the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce said, “It is frustrating to experience an administration discriminate against our community. To our transgender friends: We see you. We value you. We are here for you.”
Marisa Richmond of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition said on Facebook that Trump’s decision was “discriminatory” and that the Department of Defense “had thoroughly reviewed the issue.” Last year, Richmond became the the state’s first transgender city board member when Nashville Mayor Megan Barry appointed her to the Metro Human Relations Commission. She is a professor of women’s and gender studies at Middle Tennessee State University.