U.S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and 44 other senators penned a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis following President Trump's announcement via Twitter on Wednesday that the "United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military." The letter urges Mattis to advise the President against implementing the policy change.
"This announcement contradicts existing Defense Department policies, undermines our military readiness, and puts our transgender service members as well as their commanders in an impossible situation," the letter reads.
President Trump's tweet came as a shock to many Americans and members of the military. Transgender service members have openly served in the military since June 2016.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that as of now no policy changes will be made until President Trump clarifies what he meant in the series of surprise tweets.
The Senators requested that Mattis "not separate any service member due to the person's gender identity until you have completed the assessment that you announced on June 30, have reported back to Congress about any challenges that you foresee in the accession and retention of transgender troops, and determined the Department is unable to mitigate these challenges."
Many transgender American service members and transgender Americans fear the drastic implications that this policy, if implemented, could have on their lives and their families.
"Forcing these brave Americans out of our military would be cruel and discriminatory," the letter asserts.