The Fight for Open Transgender Military Service Is Only Beginning

Earlier this week, media reports incorrectly reported that the Pentagon would begin allowing transgender people to enlist in the military despite President Trump’s opposition.

First, in a misleading tweet, the Associated Press reported that the “Pentagon says it will allow transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite Trump's opposition.” The tweet and subsequent reports made no mention of the court orders requiring the Trump administration to permit transgender people to enlist or the government appeals seeking to stop enlistments from happening. The suggestion that the Pentagon was defying the president or that there was some goodwill in the administration towards transgender individuals was inaccurate and grossly misleading.

The reporting has since been updated to reflect the actual state of pending litigation, but widespread misinformation about the status of the ban gave a false sense of security that trans people will be able to enlist in the military once the new year begins. But in reality, the Defense Department is fighting back in court to stop transgender people from enlisting and continuing to try to implement the president’s discriminatory ban targeting transgender individuals who currently or intend to serve in the military.

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Three federal courts have now put a preliminary stop to President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, which he first announced on Twitter in July of this year. Courts in the District of Columbia, Washington, and Maryland have held that the president’s ban is likely unconstitutional and stopped its enforcement while the cases make their way through the courts.

Under existing court orders, the government cannot discharge service members just because they are transgender, must provide medically necessary health care to currently serving individuals who are transgender, and cannot bar enlistment into the military by transgender recruits beginning on January 1, 2018. On Tuesday, the government filed an emergency stay application in the ACLU’s case seeking to continue barring transgender people from enlisting in the U.S. military into the new year. Last week, the government filed a comparable motion in a District of Columbia case, which was rejected by that court.

The ACLU is fighting back every step of the way. This week we are opposing the government’s efforts to put our victory on hold and we will continue to fight back through the courts, over the holidays, and into the future, until we can rest assured that we have obtained justice for transgender service members.

Our clients are men and women who are transgender who have been serving this country for years, some of whom want to commission as officers but would be barred from doing so by the president’s proposed ban on enlistments by transgender individuals. While the president’s ban stigmatizes and threatens transgender service members every day, these brave individuals are continuing to fight for their careers, their fellow service members, and for the Constitution.

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Vlad D.

Actually I do not think you are Gay at all. An adult does not disrupt battlefield discipline, regardless of being straight or LGBT.

LGBT support

okay, listen here, you sons of bitches, just because they like the same sex, does not mean you can be a bunch of jackasses and make fun of them. They are still people who have feelings, so what that they like the same sex. you need to grow a pair of balls, as well as a fucking brain, and catch up with time it is the 21st century, people are changing just like everything else. so fucking deal with it and if you cant say anything supportive keep your fucking bigass mouths shut you dumb fucks!!! Your opinion is irrelevent and so are you and if you think that by harrassing a member of the lgbt community is going to make you look like such a badass then think again because where the world is concerned you are nothing more than a passing face and you dont matter to anyone. so grow up and stop riding everyone elses dick.

Gary Counterman...

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names I'm called don't hurt me." However they are very hurtful, damaging and devastating to people gay and strait, especially young people innocently navigating their way through childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and the world. It hurts people to be called names and to be bullied, that is until they understand what a damaged, cowardly and ignorant ass that type of person is. That bullies and bigots are full of self hatred and anger without the insight or good character to see it or ever try to change it. That they very negatively project how they actually feel about themselves and target others with it. These people feel so powerless over their lives and so bad about themselves that the only way they think they can rid themselves of that dark pain is to inflict it on someone else. What a sad and miserable way to exist, and at best that's all it is "existence" it's not living as it's not being a person who will thrive through contributing their best to life. All others, all better people, need to stand up to this abuse and address it, to teach and instruct others against being bullies or of being bullied and hurt by them. For anyone struggling with this remind yourself "Life gets better!" and find ways to empower yourself, find people and organizations who support you, that encourage and accept who you are in your desire to be genuine and authentic with yourself and them. Blessings to you! ...

Dr. Joseph Goebbels

What type of counter do you man Gary? A kitchen counter? A checkout counter? A Geiger Counter? A person of your obvious superior intellect should certainly be able to find a better job then manning a counter all day.

Gary Counterman...

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names I'm called don't hurt me." However they are very hurtful, damaging and devastating to people gay and strait, especially young people innocently navigating their way through childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and the world. It hurts people to be called names and to be bullied, that is until they understand what a damaged, cowardly and ignorant ass that type of person is. That bullies and bigots are full of self hatred and anger without the insight or good character to see it or ever try to change it. That they very negatively project how they actually feel about themselves and target others with it. These people feel so powerless over their lives and so bad about themselves that the only way they think they can rid themselves of that dark pain is to inflict it on someone else. What a sad and miserable way to exist, and at best that's all it is "existence" it's not living as it's not being a person who will thrive through contributing their best to life. All others, all better people, need to stand up to this abuse and address it, to teach and instruct others against being bullies or of being bullied and hurt by them. For anyone struggling with this remind yourself "Life gets better!" and find ways to empower yourself, find people and organizations who support you, that encourage and accept who you are in your desire to be genuine and authentic with yourself and them. Blessings to you! ...

Dr. Tinsley Keefe

Well said!

Anonymous

You are forgetting about Article 92 of the UCMJ (and that the militarys legal system is the UCMJ). You may want to look into it and also the broader impact of these court decisions. For one, the Founding Father's and other intelligent people put protections in place so that the military can't be used as a political ploy within the USA. THAT is extremely important as, when militaries start being used for internal political games it results in things like coups. Federal Courts do not have jurisdiction when it comes to military orders so ruling against an order is an Unconstitutional, AND DANGEROUS, attempt to use the military in a political game.

Then there is the matter of Article 92 which is the backbone of the military. Everyone in the military must obey a LAWFUL order from someone higher up in their chain-of-command and the Commander-In-Chief is the highest on the totem pole. Federal courts DO NOT determine whether a soldier was right or wrong to disobey an order - military courts do and they will be the ones to decide if the order was lawful or not when they rule. Before you decide that isn't important consider that Articles 90-92 also specify that soldiers don't obey UNLAWFUL orders even if issued to them by someone in their chain-of-command. That is important because, if ordered to commit a war crime. a soldier can't do it and then use the excuse that someone in their chain-of-command told them to.

Its also important because, if the Supreme Court ultimately rules for the Trump Administration every individual soldier that was involved with enlisting a transgender will have disobeyed a lawful order. Saying the judge told them too definitely won't fly because there are no Federal Judges in their chain-of-command. It really puts those soldiers in a horrible spot they don't deserve to be in.

Vlad D.

Wishful thinking. While military courts have jurisdiction over soldiers who commit crimes in the service, Federal courts can over rule anyone including the POTUS. If the courts find for the POTUS, trans soldiers can onlu be discharged, no other punitive action may be taken. Until the courts rule that Trump's orders in this regard are lawfull he may not issue the order.

Anonymous

No, Federal courts CANNOT overrule anybody. The way the system of checks and balances works the courts are supposed to rule based on current laws and the Constitution. If an action is not illegal and/or not Constitutional then they CANNOT rule against it. The 3 branches of government are supposed to have equal power and have specific powers that let them check the other 2. That keeps any branch from becoming too powerful and completely taking over (like a dictator or an oligarchy). The courts claim to have any jurisdiction over Trump's travel ban is shaky at best. The courts are trying to use the military as pawns in a political game and, as nasty as politics is getting, this could end with the political parties squaring up on the Mall with tanks. I wish I could say that last line was a joke but I've never seen a nastier political climate in the USA then we have now.

Anonymous

Also, another reason the chain-of-command is important is to keep the number of people who can give orders to a minimum to prevent someone from mis-using the military. If a Federal Judge can override the Commander-In-Chief on one issue then what would stop the next Federal Judge who wants to order the military to do something - possibly a power hungry judge who is not working for the liberal agenda? The ends does not justify the means in this situation.

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