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Varadkar says transgender people will never be banned from serving in Irish Defence Forces

Donald Trump this week said that transgender people would not be able to serve in the US military.

Image: Sam Boal via Rolling News

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that he would never consider introducing a ban on transgender people serving in the Irish Defence Forces.

Varadkar made the comment after this week’s announcement by US President Donald Trump that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the US military.

In a series of tweets, Trump said he had made the decision after consultation with his generals and military experts.

He said the military cannot be “burdened with tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”.

When asked about his views on the ban at a press briefing, Varadkar said:

On the transgender ban, it is not something I agree with. It is a domestic policy issue for the United States.
They run their defence forces, we run ours.

“It is not something I would ever consider introducing to Ireland,” he told reporters.

It is unclear how many transgender people currently serve in the Defence Forces in Ireland.

A statement from the Defence Forces said that it is “committed to the principle of equal opportunity in all its employment policies”.

The Defence Forces welcome applications from all members of Irish society, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender.

The Defence Forces launched its own LGBT network, Defend With Pride, in October 2016. It aims to provide “support, information and guidance for LGBT personnel and allies who wish to support colleagues, friends and family”.

According to a report published in 2014 on transgender military service in the US, researchers from the Williams Institute said that transgender people have a larger representation in the military than they do among the general population. Around 15,000 transgender people currently serve in the US military.

‘Resist’

Trump’s announcement was met with immediate condemnation by human rights groups and hundreds of people gathered in New York’s Times Square on Wednesday to protest at an army recruiting station. They held up signs that read ‘Resist’ and heard from speakers who denounced the ban.

Trump-Military Transgender

US visit

Varadkar confirmed that he intends to visit the White House in March and said he would bring up issues that he and Trump may not agree on.

“I am massively sure we will touch on issues such as climate change, such as migration, where we would hold very different views on that world and how it should work,” Varadkar said.

I think the whole point of our relationship, of any relationship between two countries is that we can actually tell the truth to each other and I’ll be doing that.

He also outlined that he would “remind” Trump that 100,000 Americans are employed by Irish companies across 50 States and that “we can grow trade between the two countries without putting up additional barriers”.

Read: ‘An appalling attack’: Trump criticised for saying transgender people can’t serve in US military

More: Hundreds protest in New York against ban on transgender troops

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