The LGBTQ community has criticized President Donald Trump’s nominee for Army Secretary, Tennessee State Sen. Mark E. Green, for anti-LGBTQ bills and statements that he has made as a legislator.
“If you poll the psychiatrists,” Green said at the Chattanooga Tea Party in September of last year. “They’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease.”
Green also sponsored a Tennessee bill — echoing North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” — that would require students to use restrooms and locker rooms of the gender shown on the their birth certificates.
LGBTQ advocates nationally questioned his suitability to lead the military.
In an article for Slate, Nathaniel Frank, a bisexual writer who was integral in repealing the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, called Green “a dangerous figure both because his policies are extreme and because he is shrewd at portraying them as moderate.”
“Based on his vicious, anti-LGBT record, Mark Green cannot be trusted to ensure all those who serve have the support they need and deserve,” Ashley Broadway-Mack, the president of the American Military Partner Association, told the New York Times.
Locally, others echoed the sentiments.
“For me, it feels like people like Mark are still accepted even though they would deny other humans rights based on sexual orientation,” said University of Washington student Jaymen Davis. Davis said he was concerned about Green’s views on the LGBTQ community despite being interested in his military experience.
Green was involved with the military from 1986 until 2006, and received his medical degree in 1999 in order to act as a surgeon on the battlefield.
Green contrasts with the former Army Secretary, Eric Fanning, who is gay and backed measures supporting transgender people in the military. Fanning was the first LGBTQ person to hold the title.
The Tennesseean reported that Muslim advocates also have vowed to fight Green’s nomination after he stated at the same Chattanooga event that he would not want students to learn about Muslim beliefs.
Trump’s previous choice for Army Secretary, Vincent Viola, withdrew from the tentative position in February. Viola, the owner of the Florida Panthers National Hockey League team, was concerned that there would be a risk of conflict of interest because of his business endeavors.