McCain Sponsors Legislation Challenging Transgender Troop Ban

Sep 18, 2017

Republican Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would protect transgender people from being kicked out the military. It follows President Trump’s proposed ban earlier this summer. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

U.S Army Capt. Jennifer Peace is a transgender intelligence officer and veteran of two combat tours.
Credit Drew Perine/The News Tribune via AP

The legislation would ensure all people who meet military standards are eligible to serve. It would also prohibit the Department of Defense from removing current transgender troops based solely on their gender identity.

Senator McCain is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and says the military should welcome all people regardless of gender.

Arizona Senator John McCain
Credit J. Scott Applewhite/AP

“When less than 1 percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country. Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve—including those who are transgender,” McCain says.

Transgender troops have served openly since 2016. However, President Trump announced a ban in July, calling them a disruption and a burden on the military. A recent study by the Rand Corporation estimated between 1,320 and 6,630 active duty troops in U.S. are transgender. Nearly 1.3 million service members currently serve in the country’s armed forces.

The bipartisan bill was co-sponsored by Republican Senator Susan Collins, and Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Jack Reed.