An interfaith crowd gathered outside San Luis Obispo County Veterans Services building in downtown San Luis Obispo Monday afternoon to express support for transgender service members and veterans.
The protest was organized after President Donald Trump tweeted last Wednesday that the U.S. government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in the military.
That did not sit well with Jason Sisk-Provencio, pastor of the United Church of Christ, who said the consensus in his interfaith community is that “all people are of sacred worth and deserve respect and dignity.”
Multiple faith organizations were represented at the event, including the SLO Ministerial Association and the People of Faith for Justice.
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“All people who desire to serve our country should have that opportunity. They should not be discriminated against because of their gender identification. That’s just not right. It’s just not American,” Sisk-Provencio said.
Gina Whitaker, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in San Luis Obispo, said she joined the crowd because the ban is “another way trans people are further marginalized.” She estimated that about 60 people protested.
Protesters have demonstrated against Trump’s ban across the country in the last week.
Representative Salud Carbajal answered Trump’s tweet with his own statement of support for LGBTQ soldiers, stating that “gender identity should not prevent anyone from honorably serving the country they love.”
“Discriminating against LGBTQ soldiers is shameful,” Carbajal’s tweet said.