Bipartisan Senate Amendment To Protect Transgender Soldiers Sends Trump Reeling

Sen. Susan Collins R-Maine is surrounded by reporters as she heads to the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday

In July, President Donald Trump said on Twitter he was reinstating the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from NY, on Monday introduced an amendment that seeks to block President Donald Trump's ban on transgender troops. The defense spending bill is on the Senate floor this week, but whether their amendment will get a hearing isn't certain. Kirsten Gillibrand and Maine Republican Sen.

Susan Collins of ME is the Republican half of a bipartisan pair of U.S. senators introducing an amendment to prevent the U.S. Department of Defense from removing service members from the military due to their gender identity.

Further, the proposal mandates that Secretary of Defense James Mattis continue with a report on transgender recruits and release the findings to Congress.

The amendment would prohibit DOD from "involuntarily separating", or denying the reenlistment or continuation in service in the Armed Forces of, now serving transgender service members exclusively on the basis of the member's gender identity. "I am proud to work with Senator Collins to introduce our bipartisan amendment to protect transgender members of our Armed Forces, and I will always fight for our courageous transgender troops who put their lives on the line to protect our country".

The amendment also does not mention the issue of transition-related health care, presumably an attempt to gain support among Senate Republicans. Along with prohibiting transgender service members from being kicked out of the Armed Forces, Gillibrand's and Collins' measure would also require Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to complete the study of transgender military service he announced in August by the end of the year.

"Our armed forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country", Collins said on her website.

The two senators have been battling against anti-LGBTQ legislation since 2010 when they both lead fights against the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

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