A Washington Post analysis of 2016 polling data concludes that a majority of voters in all 50 states and Washington D.C. oppose Donald Trump’s ban on military service by transgender people. EVEN ARKANSAS.

I emphasize Arkansas because it’s an article of political faith among the ascendant Republican majority in Arkansas that you can never lose by opposing equality for LGBT people and you gain points with overt discrimination, both legislatively and in court.

Advertisement

The question: Agree or disagree that transgender people should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

In Arkansas, the Post said 60 percent agree with open service. True that’s a lower approval rate than all but five states — Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma West Virginia and Idaho — but still. Approval rates ranged from 55 percent in Wyoming to 85 percent in the District of Columbia.

Advertisement

When the ban was announced, some Trump team members were said to believe it could be a good wedge issue in some battleground states in the Midwest, but these numbers indicate otherwise.

On a related note: I received a note this morning from Sarah Vestal, an IRS agent in Little Rock who is out as transgender. She wrote the director of the IRS asking whether the Trump move against military employees held peril for her. She shared the response she received from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen:

Advertisement

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for much for your message and your inquiry. I’m sorry I am a little late in responding, but I was in Austin this week for a series of town halls with our employees there.

You raise an important question. We have made it clear in a number of policies that no employee should be discriminated against on any grounds and I sent out a reminder to all employees about our strong commitment to this policy last August. I am enclosing a copy of that message which I hope provides you with some comfort and assurance that we are delighted you are an IRS employee and look forward to many more years of your continued service to the nation’s taxpayers.

Best wishes.

John

Arkansas Times: Report for America

Imagine the power of a dedicated voice bringing to light the challenges and triumphs of Arkansas’s largest industry. With a $25,000 match from Report For America, the Arkansas Times will bring on a reporter dedicated to covering agricultural and environmental issues in The Natural State. This role is crucial: agriculture employs 243,000 Arkansans and generates $19 billion annually. Help us ensure that our farmers and agricultural workers are given the coverage they deserve. Your donation makes a direct impact—support local journalism that supports Arkansas.

Previous article Robber shot in Blytheville robbery attempt Next article Who knew? Global trade is complicated