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Philadelphia Stands In Solidarity With LGBTQ Troops, Veterans, As Trump Tweets Become Policy

One city put on an amazing display of solidarity with LGBTQ soldiers, sailors, and veterans. Last night, President Trump made his Tweets banning transgender individuals from the Armed Forces official Pentagon policy. The people disagree.

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A Tweet Becomes Policy

Nathan James / Via Nathan James

Last night, President Trump's Tweetstorm banning transgender people from serving in the US military, which generated a firestorm of controversy, became official Pentagon policy. This means a massive, unprecedented purge of all 15,000 active-duty and reserve transgender servicepeople is on its way. Dedicated, patriotic trans troops, like Army Captain Evelyn Rhynedance (pictured above), no longer have the right to defend their country.

One City's Stand Against Bigotry

Nathan James / Via Nathan James

This is Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. On Thursday, he joined with his Office Of LGBT Affairs and the LGBTQ veterans' advocacy group OutServe-SLDN at a City Hall rally supporting LGBT troops and veterans. The Mayor boldly declared, "Philadelphia will not stand for government-sanctioned bigotry and blatant transphobia," and pledged his solidarity with the troops.

All Veterans Matter!

Nathan James / Via Nathan James

Philadelphia is the site of a planned LGBT Veterans' House, offering safe, supportive living spaces. Dr. Remolia Simpson, an out Army veteran who heads My Brothers House, a nonprofit which will build and staff the residence, spoke out, reminding everyone that "all veterans matter".

" I Had To Go Back In The Closet To Serve My Country"

Nathan James / Via Nathan James

Meet Dante Austin, an out, proud Philadelphia Deputy Sheriff and Army veteran. At the Rally, he shared his military experiences, recalling that in the Don't Ask/Don't Tell era during which he served, he "went back into the closet" to avoid being caught serving while gay. In the Trump administration, a return to those dark days ios a very real possibility, as the ban on trans troops makes evident.

An Admiral's Response

US Coast Guard / Via PO2 Patrick Kelley

One high-ranking commander was appalled by Trump's decree. Admiral Paul Zunkunft, commanding the US Coast Guard, said he had 13 transgender sailors in his service, and the Admiral would not break faith with them. "They are all doing meaningful Ciast Guard work," Zunkunft pointed out. As the ban on transgender service members takes effect, these words, Pentagon sources say, are likely to end the Admiral's career.

Philadelphia Is Ready

Nathan James / Via Nathan James

When discharged trans troops, in their tens of thousands suddenly find themselves back in civilian life, it will be people like Amber Hikes, director of Philadelphia's LGBT Affairs Office (pictured above), who will help them make the transition. Hikes says, "We have all kinds of services ready to go, and we will be the first to welcome these troops with open arms." These pledges, and the debt of gratitude a nation owes these valiant soldiers, sailors, aviators and Marines, will sternly rebuke the bigotry shown by their Commander-In-Chief, who never served a single day of his life in uniform.

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