Washington, DC – “President Trump's latest order banning transgender individuals from serving in the military is a complete affront to America’s standing as a beacon of equality and inclusion,” said Brendan Flores, National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) National Chairman. “Individuals who love their country should be able to serve it proudly and honorably, regardless of how they identify.”
President Donald Trump announced last week on Twitter that the “United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military” due to the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” entailed. According to a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation, there are an estimated 1,320 to 6,630 transgender service members.
Viva Tarroza-Taft, member of NaFFAA’s Board of Governors and U.S. Army (Retired), added: “This is a major setback to the progress made on behalf of LGBT military personnel. There are thousands of transgender individuals already serving honorably and effectively in the military, and this action pushes them back into the shadows. When members of our brave military are forced to hide and are subject to discriminatory retaliation, it impairs military readiness.”
Jason Tengco, NaFFAA’s first openly gay Executive Director, concluded: “Rather than deeming transgender individuals as a ‘disruption,’ we should work to educate each other about how heteronormative language and systems can allow for bigotry and intolerance to spread. NaFFAA looks forward to uplifting our global Filipino LGBT diaspora - everyone from Jake Zyrus to Geena Rocero - and advocating for our community's diverse segments.”