Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) issued the following statement Wednesday in response to President Donald J. Trump’s declaration – made via Twitter – that transgender men and women will be denied the opportunity to serve in the United States military:
“Transgender individuals who are willing to give their lives to protect their fellow Americans have far more patriotism and courage than President Trump – who deferred military service five times while the nation was at war with Vietnam – has ever displayed in his lifetime.
“This goes far beyond the scope of the armed forces. The commander-in-chief’s assertion that trans- men and women are a ‘disruption’ is the height of discrimination, which, sadly, has been a defining characteristic for his administration. With fatal violence against the transgender community at the highest level ever recorded, the president’s implicit support of such hatred has the potential to engender an increase in these attacks. Coupled with the Department of Justice’s forthcoming effort to roll back LGBT workplace protections, the president’s announcement is a significant step back for equality in this country.
“Unfortunately, these maneuvers are part of an evident trend by this administration to systematically dismantle Obama-era regulations that extended new rights and protections to minority groups. It’s both spiteful and counterintuitive, and it is designed to achieve political gains, rather than policy goals.
“We cannot, however, allow our rightful outrage at this moment to suppress our collective commitment to fighting for the civil rights of trans-people and protecting LGBT rights more generally. Just last week, bills to respect the gender identity of all children in New Jersey become law. It was a signal of our state’s fundamental opposition to intolerance and discrimination against transgender people. More importantly, it was a signal that, regardless of what happens at the federal level, New Jersey will remain true to its ideals of fairness and equal rights for all.”