President Trump announced on Friday the implementation of his long-promised ban on transgender people serving in the military, putting into place a Defense Department plan that allows some currently enlisted transgender troops to continue to serve but bans most transgender people from newly enlisting. According to Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, Vice President Mike Pence and two prominent anti-LGBTQ activists—Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins—“played a leading role in the creation” of a Pentagon report on the subject of transgender service that was made public along with Trump’s order.
Last summer, when Trump announced via Twitter that he was planning on banning all transgender people from serving in the military, Perkins boasted of having worked behind the scenes with the White House to bring about the policy shift.
Perkins, a former Marine, has long opposed allowing LGBTQ people to serve in the military. Shortly before Congress repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces, Perkins said at a Family Research Council event that militaries that allow LGBTQ people to serve are “the ones that participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the nation and the world free”:
In 2015, as the Obama administration was considering allowing the service of openly transgender people, Perkins said that policies allowing LGBTQ people to serve had turned the military “into a parade that looks like the bar scene in Star Wars”:
Since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Perkins has linked the policy change to sexual assault and harrassment, suicides and the Afghan child abuse scandal and warned that it would hurt military recruitment to the extent that Obama would have to reinstate the draft.
Heritage’s Anderson has become a prominent voice in movements opposing LGBTQ equality measures. He recently published a book called “When Harry Became Sally” that pushes back on calls for transgender rights.