Sen. Lindsey Graham (AP/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Lindsey Graham: "I don’t think there’s any bar against transgender service" in the military

GOP presidential hopeful says that if he's in the White House, he wants trans people in the military

Jenny Kutner
June 17, 2015 6:21PM (UTC)

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Lindsey Graham doesn't seem to be totally aware of who is allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military and who is not, but no matter -- if he's elected president, he'll apparently open the armed forces to everyone!

In an interview with Fusion's Jorge Ramos, Graham said he isn't quite ready to commit to allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military, partly because he didn't know that at the moment, they can't. According to the senator, the current policy is that "anyone can serve in the military who's qualified."


"The Don't Ask Tell [sic] policy has been replaced," Graham explained. "If I were president, I would keep the current system, and as far as I know, I don’t think there’s any bar against transgender service."

Ramos countered by pointing out that the Pentagon does, in fact, limit transgender Americans' ability to serve openly in the armed forces; those who are openly trans may not join, and anyone who transitions while in the military can be discharged. Graham appeared impressed by the news that there are approximately 15,000 transgender troops currently serving in silence about their gender identities, and said his preference as president "would be to allow everybody to serve."

"I'd like to hear from the military," he said. "Quite frankly, I don't know ... I'd like to hear their version of why we do what we do."

Watch a clip from Graham's interview with Ramos below:

Jenny Kutner

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