Unsurprisingly, Republican Voters Disagree
Results of a new poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University found nearly seven out of 10 American voters, 68 to 27 percent say that transgender people should be allowed to serve in the U.S. armed forces. The poll also finds the majorityÂ (55%) of voters in military households support transgender military service. When asked if it should be illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on sexual orientation or gender identity, 89 percent of voters said yes with only eight percent agreeing that employers should have that right.
Unsurprisingly, polling results among just Republican voters show that a majority of them oppose transgender service, by 60 to 32 percent. University researchers however found that among other party, gender, education, age or racial groups, support for transgender service were by margins of 22 percentage points or higher.
According to Tim Malloy, Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, 46 percent of voters say more acceptance of transgender people would be "a good thing for the country. â€œThey put on uniforms and face the same risks as their brothers and sisters in arms for little reward other than protecting their country," saidÂ Malloy, adding, "Voters say a soldier is a soldier, no matter what his/her gender identity is. Voters are saying, 'Let them serve.'"
Matt Thorn, Director of OutServe, anÂ organizationÂ which advocates for and provides legal services for LGBTQI military servicemembers, their families, and veterans told NCRM, â€œI think this poll reflects what should be fundamental in our society, that if you can do a job regardless of sexual or gender identity, then you should be able to serve without fear of discrimination.â€
The pollâ€™s results come as the U.S. Defense Department and the White House are grappling with the issue of transgender service after a series of tweets last week by President Trump unequivocally stated that it would be the policy of his administration to ban transgender military service completely. That announcement caught the Pentagon as well as major military commands off guard as it was completely unexpected.
Admiral Paul Zukunft (photo), the commandant of the United States Coast Guard, in a break with the White House, reaffirmed his commitment to transgender Coast Guardsmen Tuesday morning during his appearance before a gathering at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
â€œI reached out personally to Lt. Taylor Miller, who was featured on the cover of The Washington Post last week,â€ Zukunft told the audience, â€œIf you read that story, Taylorâ€™s family has disowned her,â€ he said. â€œHer family is the United States Coast Guard. And I told Taylor, â€™I will not turn my back. We have made an investment in you, and you have made an investment in the Coast Guard, and I will not break faith.â€Â
The Pentagon ended the policy banning transgender individuals from serving in the military in 2016. Then U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter lifted the ban, assuring these service members that they would no longer be discharged on that basis and would receive medical care â€” including hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, if wanted.Â
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Image: U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick KelleyÂ via Flickr