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Hundreds protest in New York against ban on transgender troops

The US president said yesterday that the military cannot be ‘burdened’ with the medical costs and ‘disruption’ involved.

Source: Frank Franklin II/PA Images

HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE gathered in New York’s Times Square yesterday to protest against an announcement by US President Donald Trump that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the 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 the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail”. It is not yet clear how this new rule will be implemented by the administration.

The announcement was met with immediate condemnation by human rights groups and hundreds of people protested yesterday at an army recruiting station in Times Square. They held up signs that read ‘Resist’ and heard from speakers who denounced the ban.

Among the crowd was Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, who tweeted that he was “taking another #irishstand”.

Demonstrator Yael Leberman told ABC News that transgender people are “completely adequate to serve” and combat is “not about physical, it’s about mental” abilities.

There was also a large protest at San Francisco’s Harvey Milk Plaza. According to ABC, a transgender woman who attended told the crowd she was tired of being told who she can or cannot be. She asked for others in the LGBT community to support trans people as they fight for respect.

Yesterday the National Centre for Transgender Equality called the move “an egregious attack”.

Source: Olga R. Rodriguez/PA

In a statement, the organisation said the decision is worse than the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ US military policy, which effectively meant gay, lesbian or bisexual members did not openly disclose their sexual orientation. It was an official policy from 1994 until 2011.

The statement said:

This is an appalling attack on our service members; it is about bigotry rather than military readiness, reason or science. It is indefensible and cannot stand.

“The President wants to discard thousands of trained and skilled troops who are already serving honourably and done nothing but be honest about who they are. To turn away qualified recruits simply because of who they are is a shameful way to show our country’s gratitude to the people who serve our country.”

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

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