Today, the Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) — the nation’s largest non-profit organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) military and veteran community — expressed concern over the appointment of Mark Esper as Acting Secretary of Defense.
“Esper’s past anti-LGBTQ positions and most recent comments on transgender military service are cause for considerable concern as he is elevated to Acting Secretary of Defense,” said Modern Military Association of America Executive Director and Navy veteran Andy Blevins. “In this crucially important role, Esper has a solemn responsibility to ensure all of our nation’s service members and their families have the full support they need and deserve — including LGBTQ service members. Considering his deeply troubling past, we urge Acting Secretary Esper to clarify his commitment to all military families.”
Earlier today, the Palm Center — an independent research center on public policy — highlighted Esper’s past comments specifically on transgender military service. The Palm Center pointed out that Esper lied about transgender military service during a June 6 CNN interview, where he claimed that “there’s no blanket ban” in the military on transgender applicants. This is in direct conflict with the Trump-Pence administration’s current transgender military ban, which among other discriminatory measures bars qualified transgender recruits from entering the military.
MMAA and Lambda Legal are currently challenging the Trump-Pence administration’s discriminatory transgender military ban in court in the case of Karnoski v. Trump.