UPDATE 07/13/17 at 6:00 p.m. EST: The anti-transgender amendment was defeated in a 214-209 vote.
The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus rebuked an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would ban transgender people serving in the military from receiving medical care related to their transition.
The anti-trans amendment will receive a floor vote in the House of Representatives.
It was proposed by Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, who has a track record of anti-trans legislation and rhetoric, including calling transgender service members “domestic threat” to national defense. She briefly introduced then withdrew legislation last week to ban transgender people from serving in the armed forces entirely.
“Rep. Hartzler’s misguided amendment effectively bans patriotic transgender Americans from serving their country in uniform,” LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Pocan said. “The defense bill is supposed to be about how to best keep our country safe. Decisions about medical care should be made by doctors based on contemporary medical standards of care—not Congress. If any service member isn’t able to access the health care doctors determine is needed, that harms readiness. I trust our colleagues will reject this hateful attack on the transgender community.”
The amendment targets transgender service members directly, as cisgender service members would continue to have access to hormone treatments banned for transgender people under the amendment.
Openly transgender people were scheduled to be allowed to enlist in the armed forces beginning Jan. 1, 2018, following the lifting of a ban on transgender service in 2016.
“Transgender service members are not asking for any ‘special’ rights, they simply want to serve their country,” LGBT Equality Caucus Executive Director Roddy Flynn said.