On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, President trump said he had banned transgender individuals from serving in the U.S military. He stated on his official twitter account that transgender individuals will not be permitted to serve in the armed forces “in any capacity.” However, the LGBTQ community, as well as their allies, have voiced their overwhelming support of transgender individuals’ right to serve and their disapproval of Trump’s ban. By coming together on social media, American people everywhere are combing forces to stand with transgender troops, and human rights overall, under the hashtag #ProtectTransTroops.

The official statement

Early on the morning of the 26th, Trump’s ban was announced to citizens via his twitter account @realDonaldTrump.

The first tweet in a series of three was delivered at 8:55 AM.

The tweet was left open-ended for nearly ten minutes and anticipation grew as Americans waited for critical information about the state of the country. The subsequent tweet posted at 9:00 AM revealed the truth behind the announcement, “....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming.....” After several more minutes, Trump had completed his series of tweets stating, “....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.

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Thank you.” Trump’s tweets have effectively overturned the progress made under the Obama administration, which had lifted the ban on openly transgender individuals from serving in the military.

The overwhelming response and support

American citizens and concerned individuals from all over the world took to social media to voice their disapproval of the ban and their unwavering support of the transgender community. This support especially encompasses the transgender individuals already extending their service to the American people. Those tweeting out support for transgender rights include Kim Kardashian West, Ellen DeGeneres, Demi Lovato and countless others.

However, the loudest and most unwavering voices across the web have been from alliances, support groups, and legal teams fighting for the transgender community. @TransEquality on twitter has posted, “Our #trans veterans and servicemembers deserve better. Tell @POTUS to #ProtectTransTroops” along with a direct link as to where you can express your thoughts and submit your disapproval to the government.

@glaad, the official twitter account for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, posted a series of tweets to the president. In their posts they stated, “His admin. will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology - even if it means denying some of our bravest the right to serve. There are already 15,000 patriotic, transgender Americans serving in our military, and this ban will cause a huge disruption.” They also added, “Furthermore, this puts the careers of patriotic transgender Americans on the line who want nothing more than to serve their country.”

@HRC, the Human Rights Campaign who are currently the largest civil rights organization in the United States, tweeted, “.@RealDonaldTrump's announcement has negative implications for our nation’s military readiness. #ProtectTransTroops” and they urge human rights supporters to text “OUR TROOPS” to the number 30644.

@ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, have taken to twitter to express their disapproval, yet optimism that justice will prevail. They have posted multiple tweets stating, “In another gratuitous attack on LGBT people today, Justice Department argued that LGBT people are not protected under the Civil Rights Act. Fortunately, the courts, not an administration playing politics with people's lives, will decide if the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT people.” They reminded readers that, “While today will go down as Anti-LGBT Day, we are confident that the courts will side with equality.” The ACLU urges supporters to donate to their organization on their official website in order to aid their fight for equality.

Moreover, people everywhere are voicing their thoughts about the ban on the platform. According to twitter analytics, the hashtag #ProtectTransTroops has reached approximately 1,821,386 users. The hashtag is bursting with backing for transgender individuals, as well as providing information for rights rallies and resources for contacting government venues to express crucial thoughts in protecting the right to serve for every person. While scrolling the tag, the platform is alight with the repeated mantra that “TRANS PEOPLE ARE NOT A BURDEN.” Once more, social media has acted as a medium to join people together to send a message, and in this case, a group call for human rights.