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LGBTQ Coloradans aghast at Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members

July 26, 2017 Updated: July 26, 2017 at 3:54 pm
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“I cannot imagine how our transgender service members ... feel waking up to their Commander-in-Chief not only demeaning their service, but dehumanizing who they are.” Colorado state Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver

Colorado LGBTQ leaders said they were dismayed and angered that President Trump is proposing a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

“I cannot imagine how our transgender service members, who are serving honorably all over the world right now to protect our freedoms, feel waking up to their commander-in-chief not only demeaning their service, but dehumanizing who they are,” said state Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, a member of the legislature’s LGBTQ caucus. “To be told you cannot serve simply because of who you are is just plain wrong.

“Our country is better than this, and we deserve a president who is conscious about valuing what makes America great – not on dividing and dehumanizing us. That is not who we are.”

Another Colorado LGBTQ caucus member, Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, called Trump’s move “a black mark in the history of our country.”

“The civil rights movement for LGBT Americans has been forced backwards,” he said in a text message to Colorado Politics. “This is very sadly just the beginning of decidedly negative steps this administration will take in the next four years whether we have a President Trump or Pence. We need all Americans, regardless of political party, to band together to resist the oppression and discrimination we are now and will experience in the future.”

One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and their families, said it amounted to an attack on patriotism.

“President Trump just attacked thousands of patriotic transgender Americans who already serve in our military and who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and free,” said Daniel Ramos, One Colorado’s executive director. “The U.S. military is the largest employer of transgender people in the world, employing an estimated 15,000 transgender people today.”

Ramos called it another example of the Trump administration singling out a vulnerable target instead of bringing the country together.

“Transgender people — like all Americans — should be judged for their qualifications, nothing more, nothing less.” he said. “As we learned in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowing service members to serve with integrity strengthens our armed forces.

“Our veterans and military deserve better and we will fight against this vicious attack on dignity and equality. Transgender people are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They are veterans who have served with honor, and active duty service members who have sacrificed to protect our freedoms. When it comes to being able to serve their country, earn a living, having a place to live, or being served by a business, transgender people should be treated like anyone else and not be discriminated against.”

Editor’s note: Colorado Politics as reached out to others with a stake in this issue. This story will be updated as more reaction comes in.

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