Several prominent titans in Silicon Valley have voiced their fierce opposition to US President Donald Trump's tweets on Tuesday (25 July) saying the US military "will not accept or allow" transgender individuals to serve "in any capacity". The decision would reverse a policy approved by the Defense Department under his predecessor Barack Obama's administration last year that allowed transgender people to serve openly in the military.
"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 tweeted. "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."
Trump did not name the generals or experts he was referring to in his tweets.
His tweets came after he vowed to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community during the election campaign last year.
In June last year, then presidential-candidate Trump tweeted: "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs."
The president's tweets immediately drew fierce condemnation from civil liberties groups and widespread outrage.
Many tech leaders, who have voiced objections to Trump's immigration ban and the US exit from the Paris climate deal earlier this year, also took to social media to voice their support for transgender service members and opposition to Trump's proposed ban using the viral hashtag #LetThemServe.
Here are some of the initial reactions from the biggest technology giants in response to the transgender military ban:
Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is a member of the LGBTQ community himself, tweeted: "We are indebted to all who serve. Discrimination against anyone holds everyone back. #LetThemServe".
Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky tweeted: "Want to thank all transgender soldiers for their patriotism & believe anyone who wants to serve should be able to serve. #LetThemServe".
"What an unbelievably horrible policy that will quickly be overturned by the next President. Is there truly no moderating force in the WH?" Aaron Levie, CEO of the cloud-based file storage company Box tweeted.
Chad Dickerson, chief executive of Etsy thanked all those who serve in the military regardless of their gender identity.
"I am deeply thankful for all who serve in the military, regardless of gender identity. Unnecessary, cruel decision today. #LetThemServe", Dickerson tweeted.
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive and founder of the social media giant wrote on his Facebook page: "Everyone should be able to serve their country - no matter who they are."
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also echoed Zuckerberg's sentiments in a post saying: "We should be grateful for everyone, including those in the transgender community, willing to serve our country. #LetThemServe".
Using the viral hashtag, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai wrote: "I am grateful to the transgender members of the military for their service. #LetThemServe".
Microsoft President Ben Smith wrote: "We honor and respect all who serve, including the transgender members of our military. #LetThemServe".
The CEO of Salesforce tweeted an image with a statement from the company along with the hashtag #equalityforall.
Zander Luri, chief executive of Survey Money, wrote: "We @SurveyMonkey believe inclusivity drives success and stand with transgender individuals #transrightsarehumanrights".
In a series of tweets, Tumblr's official Twitter account described the move as "appalling" and offered a link on "how you can reach out, educate and fight back" against it.
Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted: "Discrimination in any form is wrong for all of us."
"We owe the deepest debt of gratitude to all those who volunteer to serve in the US Armed Forces and defend our values. These patriotic Americans deserve to be honored and respected, not turned away because of who they are", Uber said in a series of tweets.
Sam Altman, head of Y Combinator, tweeted a link to an article in Scientific American that compared the estimated cost of trans service members to the cost of Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago. He also retweeted PayPal co-founder Max Levchin's post that read: "Trans kids, soldiers etc need our support today and to know they are valued & respected regardless of politics. Let us not be divided."
Susan Wojcicki, chief executive of YouTube, also tweeted her support for transgender rights as well and posted a video featuring a transgender man who did serve in the military.