Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person to the serve in the Senate, has been a champion of LGBTQ rights.   

At a June 2018 Human Rights Campaign event, Baldwin gave a speech in which she praised volunteers on the front lines of the "fight for equality" and also aimed a couple barbs at the Donald Trump administration.

On August 17, 2018, PolitiFact Wisconsin did a fact check on the first barb:

The Trump administration "has banned the CDC even using the word ‘transgender,’" Baldwin told the crowd, which booed in response.

The statement was based on a Washington Post report. But that story was later countered by several other published reports that indicated the words were not banned. Rather, it was suggested that other words be used in some cases — in part to temper controversy during the budget process.

We rated the claim False. See that claim here.  

Now, PolitiFact Wisconsin turns its attention to the second part of Baldwin’s claim:

"President Trump continues to disrespect patriotic transgender Americans who want to serve their country."


When asked to back up Baldwin’s claim, campaign spokesman Bill Neidhardt directed PolitiFact Wisconsin to news reports of nationwide demonstrations that erupted following the proposed transgender ban.


Trump, citing concern over military focus and medical costs, announced on Twitterin June 2017 that he would ban transgender individuals from serving "in any capacity" in the U.S. military.

The president tweeted the following:

After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.

The action was aimed at reversing an Obama administration decision to begin allowing transgender troops to serve openly in the U.S. armed forces.

Several groups filed lawsuits against the ban, including Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN in Seattle, according to The Hill.

"A federal court in Seattle thwarted an administration request for a stay of an earlier injunction that halted the ban while a government appeal is heard," the report said.

On July 18, 2018, The Hill reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a block on the implementation of the ban, which was first announced by President Donald Trump in 2017.  

"The court's move enables transgender people to continue enlisting in the military until the opposing parties go to trial, expected in April 2019," The Hill stated.

On August 6, 2018, Reuters reported that a U.S. court ruled the Trump administration could not enforce an updated policy barring certain transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, becoming the second court in the country to rule against the government since it unveiled the policy.

"A federal court in Seattle thwarted an administration request for a stay of an earlier injunction that halted the ban while a government appeal is heard," the report said.

Gerald Coon, president & CEO of Diverse & Resilient, a Wisconsin organization working to end violence against LGBTQ+ people, commented on the position of military leaders.

"All four military service chiefs have gone on record to state that there is no harm in having transgender personnel serving in the military," Coon said in an email to PolitiFact Wisconsin. "Efforts to disqualify transgender people from serving in the military do not improve our national security."

Peter Renn, Lambda Legal western regional office senior attorney, supported Baldwin’s claim.

"Yes, Senator Baldwin’s statement is correct," Renn said in an email to PolitiFact Wisconsin.  "The Trump administration has been unrelenting in its crusade to ban qualified transgender people from serving our country, but every federal judge to consider the ban has halted the administration’s efforts at every turn, finding that the ban unconstitutionally targets a minority group for discrimination."

Tom Warnke, media relations director of Lambda Legal, confirmed that the organization filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration. Lambda Legal is a nonprofit legal organization:

"Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work," according to its mission statement.

Our rating

Tammy Baldwin told a Human Rights group that "President Trump continues to disrespect patriotic transgender Americans who want to serve their country."

There are ample reports that the administration is continuing its attempts to bar transgender individuals from the military, including updating and adjusting its policy as court rulings roll in. Having said that, it’s important to note that the issue is still winding its way through the courts, so a ban is not in place at this time. We rate the claim Mostly True

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