San Francisco, CA – Earlier this morning, President Trump tweeted a statement indicating that the US
would no longer “accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military,”
effectively overturning a policy of open acceptance set by the Obama administration in 2016. President
Trump went on to cite the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” that transgender soldiers and
military personnel would cause.
As a transgender-serving organization responsible for TRANS:THRIVE, San Francisco’s first and largest
comprehensive transgender health program, we are appalled by this policy shift affecting between
1,320 and 6,630 active duty personnel (according to the Rand report cited by the Trump administration)
or 15,500 (according to the Williams Institute) serving in the US’s volunteer military force.
“This is clearly not a military readiness issue but a war on equality,” said Lance Toma, CEO of API
Wellness. “Our transgender community members have been serving our country honorably for years.
The President is proposing to overtly discriminate against transgender individuals and overturn years of
progress and research. Transgender individuals must continue to have the right to serve our country
with all the dignity and respect they deserve from all of us.”
Trump’s position, that transgender troops would cause “disruption,” goes against the consensus of 18
other countries, including Australia, Israel, Britain, Sweden, and Canada, that openly support
transgender service members. In fact, the very report the Trump team cited found that “the available
evidence indicated no significant effect on cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.”
Nikki “Tita Aida” Calma, an associate director at API Wellness who oversees TRANS:THRIVE said, “as a
trans woman, I can tell you that my community is not facing death and war in order to take advantage of
the military. They are proud Americans serving their country. My trans sisters, brothers, and siblings are
brave, courageous, and patriotic. Insinuating otherwise does a disservice to them and our nation.”
As a people of color and LGBTQ community health center fighting for health, wellness, and equality, we
demand that President Trump not only retract his policy decision, but apologize for the pain his bigotry
and ignorance have caused.
About API Wellness
API Wellness is an LGBTQ and people of color community health center that transforms lives by
advancing health, wellness, and equality. It believes everyone deserves to be healthy and needs access
to the highest-quality health care. API Wellness fosters resilience, strength, connection, health, and
wellness for all communities. To API Wellness, health care will always be grounded in social justice.