Advocacy groups welcome defeat of NDAA anti-transgender amendmentAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Friday, July 14th, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. — LGBT advocacy groups have praised a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives voting down a vicious amendment that would have ripped away medically necessary health care for transgender service members and military dependents. Proposed by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), the amendment would have barred access to transition-related health care — including critically important care such as hormone therapy — for service members and military family members. The amendment was defeated by a vote of 214 to 209.
“This was a horrifying, vicious attack on service members and military family members, and our families were beside themselves in fear,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “It would have been beyond unconscionable to rip away the critically important health care of transgender military family members and service members — care that their doctors believe is medically necessary — and would have severely harmed thousands of military families and undermined military readiness. We are incredibly grateful to the members of Congress who stood up and stopped this assault on our military families.”
“Congresswoman Hartzler’s attempt to strip healthcare from service members and their families in a time of war was unpatriotic, unconstitutional, and just plain vile, we are pleased to see that the House of Representatives voted down this amendment” said OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn. “It would have been harmful to trans servicemembers, spouses, and families with trans children; it would have undermined our mission readiness by degrading our capabilities as a fighting force. OutServe-SLDN will continue to support and defend our trans brothers and sisters in any and all legal and advocacy matters.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) claimed victory following the defeat of the amendment saying it would have put at risk the health and wellbeing of military families.
“Today’s strong, bipartisan vote sent a resounding message of support for our military families and transgender service members,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This dangerous amendment would have put at risk the health and wellbeing of military families, and threatened military readiness and national security. We applaud those members from both parties who stood up for the thousands of transgender service members proudly serving their country.”
Just two weeks ago, Rep. Hartzler failed in an attempt to ban transgender service members from the military during the NDAA markup before the House Armed Services Committee. These transgender service members have been serving openly and proudly for more than a year. Rep. Hartzler’s new amendment would have prohibited the Department of Defense from providing medical treatment for transition-related services.
“I’m pleased the House rejected an amendment that would only serve to weaken our nation’s military readiness,” said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). “Transgender service members put their lives on the line for our nation and our freedoms and the practical effect of these policies would have been to deny medically necessary treat to those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. Our country should look forward, not backward, and promote inclusion in our armed forces and all other public institutions.”
According to the Williams Institute, there are an estimated 15,500 actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military. Thousands of transgender people have served with honor and distinction in our military, including the more than 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today. Transgender service members have risked their lives around the world, and the previous transgender military ban made them unable to be their authentic selves or seek the medical care they needed. This had negative implications for our nation’s military readiness. A service member who is able to be open and honest about their gender identity and receive appropriate care is more productive and focused on the mission.
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