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Transgenders up in arms over Trump’s new policy

NEW YORK (AP) – Most LGBT-rights activists never believed Donald Trump’s campaign promises to be their friend. But with his move Wednesday to ban transgender people from military service, on top of other actions and appointments, they now see him as openly hostile.

Leaders of major advocacy groups depicted Trump’s Twitter pronouncement as an appeal to the portion of his conservative base that opposes the recent civil-rights gains by the LGBT community.

“His administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our government – even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of the LGBT-rights group GLAAD.

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly since last year, after a move by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Trump’s vow to end that policy was the latest, and perhaps the most stinging, of a string of actions since his election that have dismayed supporters of LGBT rights.

Some examples:

– The administration rescinded federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. It said state and local officials should decide the issue.

– Several of Trump’s high-level appointees have solid records as opponents of LGBT-rights advances, including Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

– At Trump’s direction, Sessions is developing new guidance on religious liberty for federal agencies that is expected to make it easier for people with religious objections to refuse to recognize LGBT rights.