Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

McCain Sponsors Legislation Challenging Transgender Troop Ban

Drew Perine/The News Tribune via AP

Republican Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would protect transgender people from being kicked out the military. It follows President Trump’s proposed ban earlier this summer. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The legislation would ensure all people who meet military standards are eligible to serve. It would also prohibit the Department of Defense from removing current transgender troops based solely on their gender identity.

Senator McCain is the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and says the military should welcome all people regardless of gender.

Credit J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Arizona Senator John McCain

“When less than 1 percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country. Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve—including those who are transgender,” McCain says.

Transgender troops have served openly since 2016. However, President Trump announced a ban in July, calling them a disruption and a burden on the military. A recent study by the Rand Corporation estimated between 1,320 and 6,630 active duty troops in U.S. are transgender. Nearly 1.3 million service members currently serve in the country’s armed forces.

The bipartisan bill was co-sponsored by Republican Senator Susan Collins, and Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Jack Reed. 

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
Related Content