The Trump administration is continuing with plans to discriminate against transgender service members, with new reports out saying the White House will soon issue official guidance to the Department of Defense. The proposed rules will require the military to stop admitting transgender people into service; cease covering medically necessary health care for transgender personnel currently in the force; and, allow Defense Secretary James Mattis to decide whether or not transgender individuals who are currently serving can remain in the military.
Yesterday, in his speech to the American Legion, Trump spoke of an “inclusive society” and promised the audience that he would “rebuild our depleted military.” But removing willing, capable service members from the military because they are transgender does the exact opposite of what he promised. When the ban was first announced by Trump on Twitter, it drew widespread backlash from people across the political spectrum, including many of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. VoteVets, a prominent veterans group, called the ban an example of “[the President’s] embrace of hate.” Trump—who repeatedly avoided military service with five deferments from the Vietnam draft—is ignoring the outcry.
The bottom line? Our transgender service members have more courage simply by stepping outside their house every morning than the President does. It’s time for him to stop attacking our troops, and instead, focus on crafting smart foreign policy that will ensure their safe return home.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#QuitTheCommission. Yesterday, a Texas federal judge threw out Texas’s voter ID law. The judge asserted that the law was “enacted with discriminatory intent—knowingly placing additional burdens on a disproportionate number of Hispanic and African-American voters.” But the fight to eliminate voter suppression laws in not over. In fact, the President’s Commission on Voter Integrity, founded on a myth of voter fraud, remains standing. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has joined the call to end the commission. Use our tool to urge the members to #QuitTheCommission!
Save Our Care. On November 1, a new season of open enrollment for the health insurance marketplaces is set to start. But state officials in numerous states are complaining that they have yet to hear guidance from federal officials. The silence from Health and Human Services is another piece of evidence confirming that Trump and his administration are determined to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, which would devastate communities across the country.
#ImWithKap. The storm brewing over the NFL escalated yesterday, as people took to the streets outside NFL offices to protest the treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, who made headlines when he kneeled during the national anthem last season, remains unsigned. Many believe this is because he has been blackballed by the NFL over his actions. Rev. Jamal Bryant, who spoke at the protest, said, “The NFL has proven with their treatment of Colin Kaepernick that they do not mind if black players get a concussion. They just got a problem if black players get a conscience.”
Underrepresented. A new report by the New York Times finds that “black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago.” The analysis points to a continued need for affirmative action and other policies that encourage and help students of color apply to and succeed in top colleges. But the Trump administration has targeted affirmative action, and it faces increasing threats, especially from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Who Runs The World? Saturday is Women’s Equality Day, celebrating the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Ninety-seven years later, we recognize great strides toward a more equal, just world for women. But, there is still a long fight ahead. One of the most critical pieces of legislation that has been stalled in Congress since 1923 is the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Although 35 states have ratified the ERA, 3 more states are needed. Call your member of Congress today!
#TakeThemDown. After the horrific attacks in Charlottesville, public attention has turned to the debate around the removal of confederate statues. Many cities have led the way in removing their confederate symbols, such as Baltimore and Austin. The New York Times is now tracking where confederate statues have come down. If you want your city to join this list, contact your local elected officials using this easy tool, and let them know it’s time to #TakeThemDown!
Action on Climate Change. Nine states—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—have reaffirmed their commitment to taking action on climate change. Yesterday, they announced that they would “further lower emissions from power plants by 30 percent from 2020 levels.” With the President withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, it’s increasingly important that states continue to act on climate change.