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Durango, state LGBT advocacy groups and lawmakers respond to Trump’s tweets

Call barring transgender Americans from military counter productive and ‘anti-American’
Rowan Blaisdell prepares for the 2016 Pride Procession on Main Avenue in downtown Durango. State and local LBGT advocates reacted Wednesday to a series of tweets by President Donald Trump announcing he planned to prohibit transgender people from serving in the military.

DENVER – State and local LGBTQ advocacy groups as well as Colorado lawmakers responded harshly to President Donald Trump’s tweets announcing intentions to bar transgender people from the military.

Daniel Ramos, executive director of One Colorado, an LGBTQ advocacy group, said in a statement Wednesday that the move was “yet another example of the Trump administration attacking the most vulnerable among us instead of bringing Americans together to fix the problems that face all of us.”

Rowan Blaisdell, co-founder of Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center in Durango, said in an email that Wednesday was “another sad day under the Trump administration, and it will fuel more misunderstanding and provide less opportunity for healing and growth.”

Blaisdell added that one of his youth members reached out to him upset about the president’s decision.

Blaisdell said he does not feel this will completely stop transgender Americans from joining the military but will dissuade many from enlisting and negatively effect those currently serving.

“The reality is there have always been transgender folks in the military, and there always will be. It’s just a matter of whether they’re out or not,” he said. “The less out, the more self-destructive and violent behavior we will see from those individuals, and unfortunately, that also means an increase in suicide attempts.”

Zane Goodell, 19, said he is not particularly fond of the politics of the LGBTQ community because he feels it discounts conservative political stances. But he’s against Trump’s move to ban transgender people from serving in the military and thinks it is a misstep, even for people like himself who stand on the “right-wing.”

Goodell is a bisexual man and studies geology at Fort Lewis College.

“Trump has been particularly good with gay rights in his presidency so far with having gay conservative entrepreneur Peter Thiel on his advisory team and even holding up the pride flag at the RNC,” Goodell said. “With this proposal, he’s thrown away all the points he’s gotten with the LGBT community.”

Colorado Senate Minority Leader Lucía Guzmán, D-Denver and a lesbian, released a statement calling the president’s actions “anti-American” and said they placed him on the wrong side of history.

“The president’s tweet is a cowardly attack on the thousands of patriotic transgender Americans who are currently serving in the military across the globe,” Guzmán said. “Our military leaders need to stand with our transgender brothers and sisters and against this statement that is an affront to the principles that make our country great.”

The Colorado LGBT Caucus, which consists of six Democratic legislators from the Front Range, doubled down on Guzmán’s accusations in a joint statement.

“President Trump’s tweet this morning is a betrayal of the thousands of transgender Americans who are already serving honorably in our armed forces, defending our cherished values and freedoms,” the statement said.


This story has been updated to more closely represent Rowan Blaisdell’s feelings about how President Trump’s actions will affect transgender Americans serving or wanting to serve in the military.

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