Donald Trump

Group Holds Emergency Protest in San Francisco in Response to Trump's Anti-Transgender Policy

A group calling itself "The Resistance" called for and held an emergency protest in San Francisco's Castro District Wednesday evening in response to President Donald Trump's announcement that transgender individuals will no longer be permitted to serve in the U.S. military.

"Donald Trump announced this morning he will be reversing Obama's policy and ban transgender folks from serving in the military," organizers said on Facebook. "Please come to this emergency protest to show his administration and the world that San Francisco stands with the transgender community."

The announcement came in a series of tweets from Trump around 6 a.m. Pacific time.

"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," Trump wrote.

"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," he added.

The announcement has drawn ire from across the political spectrum, including state Sen. Scott Weiner, D-San Francisco, who called it a "bigoted move," and even Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"The President's tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter," McCain said in a statement.

"We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so -- and should be treated as the patriots they are," he added.

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who represents the Castro district, didn’t mince words in reacting to Trump’s announcement.

"You have a coward attacking heroes," Sheehy said. "I think it's outrageous and disgusting. We have people who are willing to serve our country, who are volunteers, who are in hot wars, and this is a man who failed to serve in the military during the Vietnam era."

Theresa Sparks, senior adviser for transgender initiatives in San Francisco, served in the Navy for three years during Vietnam and rejected Trump's arguments about distractions and medical costs.

"His absurd claims about the cost are ridiculous," Sparks said. "We know that from San Francisco, when we first started doing health care for trans people in San Francisco, there were these wild claims that it would bankrupt the city, and everybody will move here to do it. Neither happened."

"He has so many problems," Sparks added, "that to come after us, it must be a diversion."

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee also responded: "It's just discriminatory at its core," he said. "It's what we reject."

Meanwhile, supporters of the ban, including the Family Research Council, applauded Trump, saying the military can now focus its efforts on preparing to fight and win wars rather than being used to advance the Obama social agenda.

Wednesday evening's emergency protest was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at Harvey Milk Plaza at Castro and Market streets. As of 2 p.m., more than 750 Facebook users had indicated they plan to attend.

NBC Bay Area's Christie Smith contributed to this report.

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