On Wednesday morning, President Trump tweeted that transgender individuals wouldn’t be allowed to serve in the US military “in any capacity.”
He made the statements ostensibly after consulting with military experts about the medical cost and “disruption” trans people would cause in the armed forces.
The statements, if turned into law, would be a reversal of the Obama administration’s policies, which allowed trans members to serve, offered assistance for their transitions, and obligated soldiers to undergo diversity training on working with trans people. There is no official policy in place rejecting trans service members yet, but two trans recruits, one from West Point and the other from the Air Force Academy, were denied their commissioning into the military in May.
In response, Silicon Valley CEOs and companies have been making statements on social media that advocate for allowing trans people to keep serving in the military.
Some are using the hashtag #LetThemServe.
Twitter and Square
— jack (@jack) July 26, 2017
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) July 26, 2017
— Google (@Google) July 26, 2017
I am grateful to the transgender members of the military for their service. # LetThemServe.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) July 26, 2017
— Tumblr (@tumblr) July 26, 2017
We are indebted to all who serve. Discrimination against anyone holds everyone back. #LetThemServe
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) July 26, 2017
Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer
We honor and respect all who serve, including the transgender members of our military. #LetThemServe
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) July 26, 2017
Want to thank all transgender soldiers for their patriotism & believe anyone who wants to serve should be able to serve. #LetThemServe
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) July 26, 2017
— Chris Lehane (@chrislehane) July 26, 2017
2/ These patriotic Americans deserve to be honored and respected, not turned away because of who they are.
— Uber Comms (@Uber_Comms) July 26, 2017
To ALL who are serving or who have served, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for bravely protecting our country, providing us all with the opportunity to move forward and progress in our uphill battle toward equal rights for every citizen–regardless of gender, race, or sexual identity. #TransRightsAreHumanRights
— Brian Krzanich (@bkrunner) July 26, 2017
Sincere Thank you to all members of the military for your service, regardless of who you are, who you love, or the gender you identify with.
— Devin Wenig (@devinwenig) July 26, 2017
A Reddit spokesperson said in a statement, “We stand with our trans users—many of whom are members of the military—and hope that Reddit can continue to offer a platform to amplify their voices.”
The company pointed to users in the forum r/IAmA, who hosted an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A with transgender West Point graduate Riley Dosh on July 16. Users in the forum r/science are in the middle of hosting AMAs with researchers and doctors who study transgender-specific healthcare. The first one was on Monday. There are a number of forums on Reddit created by users dedicated to breaking down stereotypes of transgender life and to building community among trans people (r/MtF, r/FtM, and r/transpositive).
In response to questions about the ban, Lyft said, “Lyft will always stand for inclusion and acceptance. It’s central to who we are and the world we are working to create.”
Snapchat and Yelp declined to comment. Amazon, IBM, Spotify Adobe, Oracle, Tesla, Palantir, Dell, and HP did not immediately respond to requests for comment or make posts on social media. We will update the story with comments as we receive them.
Some of the first CEOs to respond to Trump’s tweets were those who did not attend his technology roundtable in June. The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google’s founder Eric Schmidt did attend that meeting.
The ACLU pointed out that Trump’s tweets do not constitute an official change in policy.
They are, however, a dramatic change in sentiment from the previous administration.
Military rules and regulations allow trans people to serve their country. Even the commander-in-chief cannot change those via Twitter.
— ACLU National (@ACLU) July 26, 2017
Article originally from Buzzfeed. Caroline O’Donovan contributed to this report.