In a statement released by The Palm Center, an independent research group that strives to “enhance public dialogue about critical and controversial public policy issues,” retired military officers expressed their hopes about new rules around the inclusion of women and all LGBTQ people of all genders as members of the United States military.
The new president-elect does not seem to have a great understanding of inclusiveness in the U.S. military considering his incendiary comments about women serving.
26,000 unreported sexual assults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2013
The officers are concerned that, since the inclusive policies are too new to have gone into effect and be signed into law, Trump may have the opportunity to simply overturn them. The decision to open all positions within the military to female members was announced in December of 2015, and the announcement that transgender troops could serve openly came in June of 2016. Considering Donald Trump’s choice of running mate, cabinet members, and continued defense of the above tweet throughout his presidential campaign, their concern is understandable.
In the statement, thirty-one retired military officers signed their name, saying:
‘As retired Flag and General Officers, we believe the incoming administration must firmly commit to ensuring steady leadership of our armed forces based on proven principles of military readiness. More than half a century of history and research has made clear that an inclusive military that prioritizes talent and ability over social judgment and personal prejudice is an essential ingredient of an effective fighting force. This is especially true in a diverse nation like ours, which molds millions of individuals from countless different backgrounds into a unified whole capable of defending our nation and its interests. For generations, women and LGBT service members have been a crucial part of the most effective military in the world, and their service has shown that they are highly capable warriors and that their peers are capable of serving alongside them. No action should be taken to denigrate their honorable service, or to deprive the armed forces of their indispensable contributions.’
Considering the long and contentious struggle behind these long-awaited changes to policy, let’s just hope someone is listening.
Featured image via Getty/Andrew Lichtenstein