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On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow transgender individuals who meet all other physical, educational, and mental health standards to serve in the U.S. military.
The amendment passed 242-187, with 10 Republicans voting with Democrats in support of transgender military service.
Amendment - US - Rep - Jackie - Speier
The amendment, introduced by U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), is modeled after former President Harry Truman’s 1948 order that racially integrated the military.
It incorporated much of the language from Truman’s order — including that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services” without regard to personal characteristics — while adding sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the list of protected classes.
Vote - Favor - Amendment - Act - Defiance
The vote in favor of the amendment is an act of direct defiance against the Trump administration, which has fought for the past two years to limit transgender participation in the military.
Under the so-called “Mattis Plan,” named after former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, transgender individuals may only enlist or serve in the U.S. military if they have not been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and remain in (and present according to grooming standards for) their assigned sex at birth.
Vote - Modern - Military - Association - America
Prior to the vote, the Modern Military Association of America, an advocacy group for LGBTQ service members, released a letter sent to members of Congress urging them to support the Speier Amendment.
The letter was signed by a number of prominent military and national security leaders and organizations, including Blue Star Families; former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus; former Army Secretary Eric Fanning; retired Rear Admiral Alan Steinman, the former Director of Health and Safety for the U.S. Coast Guard; Suzanne Nossel, a former deputy assistant Secretary of State; and Ben Rhodes, a former deputy National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and co-chair of National...
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