lgbtq

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is leaving an Obama-era policy on transgender military service members largely intact, saying he needs input from an expert panel to determine the best way to implement President Trump's ban that would keep transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

Trump barred transgender would-be recruits from signing up, but he gave Mattis discretion to decide the status of transgender people who are already serving.

Updated at 7:25 p.m.

President Trump has signed a memo implementing his new policy on transgender people serving in the armed forces.

A senior White House official told reporters that no transgender individuals will be allowed to join the armed services unless and until the secretary of defense and secretary of homeland security recommend otherwise.

The leading Democrats running for Florida governor met with gay and lesbian party members Saturday in an event that at times was touching and personal, and served as a reminder that Florida is a place where people can still be discriminated against because of who they love.

When 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Florida in 2016, Gov. Rick Scott publicly offered his sympathy to the victims' families and the LGBT community.

Five openly transgender members of the U.S. military are suing President Trump and other leaders of the U.S. government over Trump's declaration, over Twitter, that trans people will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. The suit alleges that Trump's directive is "arbitrary and capricious," unconstitutionally depriving the service members of due process.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

About 20 people gathered on the steps of Key West City Hall Thursday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump's declaration that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military.

Mark Ebenhoch organized the protest. He spent 23 years in the Marines and he said local elected officials should take a public stand.

"You need to speak out and say, 'It's wrong.' Whether or not you voted for Trump makes no difference," Ebenhoch said. "It is wrong, period, and you need to say so. Because silence basically is condonement."

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The nation's highest-ranking military officer said Thursday that the Defense Department was making "no modifications" to current policy regarding transgender service members until President Trump gives more direction.

Updated: 9:27 a.m.

President Trump's announcement that he wants to ban transgender people from serving in the military could mean a historic reversal in the Pentagon's long-term trend of lowering barriers to service.

Or it could be a speed bump on a course the Defense Department was already following.

The question in Washington following Trump's post on Twitter Wednesday morning was: Which will it be?

Almost no one other than Trump himself had any idea what he intended when he wrote this:

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the military.

In his tweets, Trump wrote the military would be burdened with high medical costs and that transgender people would be a disruption.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Heidy Rodriguez, 17, created an LGBTQ support group at her Miami-Dade high school when she realized that like her, many of her friends needed a place to share their struggles and successes.

 

“My main concern was seeing kids who don’t have a safe space,” she said.

But Rodriguez said in addition to support, LGBTQ youth and adults need stronger laws and policies that support their needs.

Douglas Hanks / WLRN News

Therapists in the Miami-Dade suburbs would be banned from trying to change a child’s sexual orientation under a proposed county law that passed a committee vote on Wednesday.

“Just the gall of people thinking you can just change someone because you do not agree with their choices or what happens in their life. When it is not a choice. It is a way of life,” Commissioner Barbara Jordan said before casting one of three Yes votes for the proposal. “I didn’t choose to be born. I was born.”

Monday marks the anniversary of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, when a gunman opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year. The shooter killed 49 people and wounded more than 50. Pulse has become an unofficial site of remembrance.

Nadege Green / WLRN News

Honor them with action.

It’s a rallying cry in the LGBTQ community one year after the Pulse Night Club tragedy, one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

In more than 50 marches across the states, LGBT people and their allies gathered to stand in solidarity against the Trump administration over the weekend.

In Washington, D.C., people gathered in droves. Troy King, a 47-year-old gay man from Atlanta, marched to continue to pressure politicians to stand up for his community's rights.

"I'm not proud; I'm just gay," he said.

Amy Green / WLRN News

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