On Aug. 26, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump's memorandum ordering the Pentagon to ban transgender Americans from enlisting or commissioning in the military. The memorandum also halts some medically necessary transition-related health care for transgender service members:
"I am deeply disappointed that the White House is moving forward with this policy that will direct the Pentagon to prevent transgender Americans from serving in our military, and keep those already serving from receiving the medical treatment they need and deserve. With this decision, the President is putting politics and prejudice above the best interests of our military. Our government should not turn its back on those who are already serving, and are able to serve, simply based on their gender identity. Those who volunteer and are able to defend our country should be allowed to do so; gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, color, or gender has no bearing on one’s ability to serve. The diversity of our military has only made it stronger. This decision could negatively affect our readiness and our ability to recruit the most qualified individuals to our armed services. As a veteran, and member of the House Armed Services Committee, I strongly oppose this policy."
Earlier this year, a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a measure that would have discriminated against transgender Americans who serve or are able to serve in the military.