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Here's How World Leaders Reacted To Trump's Transgender Military Ban

As the U.S. president insulted LGBTQ troops as too costly, other countries stood up for them.

27/07/2017 7:22 AM IST | Updated 27/07/2017 10:35 AM IST
Handout . / Reuters
The Canadian Naval Band performs during the Toronto Pride Parade on July 3, 2016.

President Donald Trump’s tweets on Wednesday forbidding transgender people from serving in the U.S. military sent a shock to America’s LGBTQ community. 

As Americans reacted with concern and disappointment, leaders from countries around the world used the moment to share a message of their own to LGBTQ communities that bravely serve in their country’s armed forces.

Trump said the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said specifics aren’t yet worked out, including when the ban will begin and whether it will affect current active-duty transgender service members.

Trump’s ban would remove the U.S. from the 19 nations that allow LGBTQ individuals to serve in the military, according to Newsweek. There are 175 countries that bar LGBTQ people from serving.

Here are some of the world’s responses.

Canada offered a musical invitation.

The official Twitter account for Canada’s armed forces responded to the news by tweeting a photo of military band members performing in a parade, with rainbow flags attached to their instruments.

The account welcomed Canadians of “all sexual orientations and gender identities” to enlist.

Military officials in the U.K. said they were better off without discrimination.

High-ranking military officials in the U.K. tweeted outright disproval for Trump’s ban.

“As a Royal Navy LGBT champion and senior warfighter I am so glad we are not going this way,” Rear Adm. Alex Burton wrote on Wednesday.

“We have a justifiably rigorous selection process, but it doesn’t include discrimination and we’re a better fighting force for it,” Burton added.

Vice Adm. Jonathan Woodcock, deputy chief of the U.K. naval staff, tweeted his support for transgender service members, then served several covert burns to those who agreed with Trump’s trans ban. 

“I suspect many who doubt the abilities of our #Diverse service personnel might be more reluctant than they are to comment,” Woodcock wrote in response to a tweet from an emergency medical doctor in the Royal Navy.

When a Twitter follower suggested no transgender people are serving in U.K.’s armed forces, Woodcock said he personally knew several.

He added: “People aren’t numbers so I won’t be counting.”

A former Israeli general said meddling isn’t part of the military’s job.

When asked about Trump’s order, a former general of the Israel Defense Forces said the military shouldn’t “meddle” in service members’ personal lives, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“It makes us strong that we don’t waste time on questions like this,” Gen. Elazar Stern, who commanded the service’s Manpower Command, told Israel Army Radio, the Times reported. “It’s something to be proud of.”

Stern said he knew there were “homosexual individuals serving with me” throughout his 34 years of service.

“No transgendered people that I knew of, but maybe. We would never ask, honestly, and we’re not supposed to know,” Stern told the newspaper. “The army’s task is to support its soldiers no matter what their needs, not meddle about in their lives.”

A Scottish Parliament official introduced Trump to two of the U.K.’s finest service members.

Stewart McDonald, a Scottish member of parliament, tweeted photos of two “incredible” transgender service members in the U.K. armed forces that he thought the U.S. president should meet. 

“Only 17 years ago, LGBT people were permitted to serve in our armed forces,” McDonald wrote. “A hugely positive change that had to be fought & won in court.”

He also sent a reminder that transgender service members are “brave” and not a “burden.”

“Trans people who serve in our armed forces and those of our allies are not a ‘burden,’” McDonald tweeted. “They are brave citizens who deserve our thanks.”

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