Our Fight to Defeat the Transgender Military Ban Enters a New Phase

On the morning of July 26, 2017, President Trump made an announcement on Twitter.

With his series of tweets, Trump not only compromised the livelihoods, well-being, and lives of transgender service members — he sent a dangerous and dehumanizing message to all transgender and gender nonconforming individuals that we aren’t wanted.

His tweets also contravened the Department of Defense’s own determination in 2016 that there is no reason to exclude transgender individuals from openly serving in the military. Indeed, Trump’s declaration that he had consulted with his “Generals and military experts” was plaintly untrue.

Trump tweets

In August, the president turned his Twitter ban into formal policy, officially directing that the military return to the pre-June 2016 policy of banning transgender individuals from serving in the military “in any capacity.”  The ACLU sued him immediately, and today we’re in federal district court in Maryland to seek an injunction to block the ban.

Without an injunction, transgender individuals would remain banned from enlisting in the military on Jan. 1, 2018, when the open transgender service for purposes of enlistment had been set to go into effect.  Beginning on March 23, 2018, transgender individuals already serving our country and meeting the rigorous fitness standards to do so, would be subject to discharge just because they are transgender. Also on that date, medically necessary surgical care for transgender individuals would cease to be provided by the military.

Fortunately, the ban was dealt a blow last week when Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the federal district court of Washington, D.C. put the directives on hold in a lawsuit brought by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders.  She determined that “all of the reasons proffered by the President for excluding transgender individuals from the military in this case were not merely unsupported, but were actually contradicted by the studies, conclusions and judgment of the military itself.”  

That court further concluded that the government’s reasons appear “to be based on unsupported, ‘overbroad generalizations about the different talents, capacities, or preferences,’ of transgender people,” and that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the ban is unconstitutional. 

We are seeking comparable relief to have Trump’s dangerous directives fully put on hold. The bans threaten the careers,  the health, and the dignity of transgender individuals who have devoted their lives to service of country.

To ensure that service members are protected from sweeping discrimination, having multiple court rulings will ensure that if one court running is put on hold or overturned,  protections could be enforced in other federal courts.

The stakes could not be higher.

Our brave clients, who have risked a lot to serve their country, are taking on great risk in standing up against this injustice. They do so not just for other trans service members and not just for the broader trans community, but also for anyone in the path of discrimination.

Allow transgender service members to serve with dignity and respect. We’ve launched our latest ACLU camouflage socks in support.

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Anonymous

I can’t believe they would let those weirdos in the military anyway Your right . Strange humans don’t know if there a girl or a boy just freakish

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Anonymous

Logistical reality:
Recruiter: do you require daily medication for any medical condition.
Applicant: Yes
Recruiter: come back when you do not.
Transgender require daily medication and sometimes surgery. These factors are incompatble with logistical supplies and deploy ability standards. The ACLU is on a sinking submarine here.

LGBTQ+activist

I have multiple things to say, both in favor(ish) and opposed to this.

Let me start by saying that I do not support President Trump, though I have tried many times to. That being said, I do have a controversial opinion on the topic of the trans military ban. I understand the struggles that come with transitioning. I am currently getting a degree in LGBTQ Studies and I have many trans identified individuals prominent in my life. Those that have begun to medically transition have a need for medication. When somebody has been on hormone supplements, they need to stay on them. My argument is not that they cannot serve their country being on hormones, but somebody in a combat position doesn’t always have access to medication. Without testosterone or estrogen, their body can go through a lot of changes that not only affect them physically, but mentally as well. Being in a combat position, you cannot be focused on anything but combat. It’s a nerve wrecking job.
That being said, there is no other reason that I can think of that prevents trans identified individuals from serving their country. If it is distracting to other soldiers, then the problem is on the person who cannot keep to themselves enough that they need another person to not exist in order to function. There are so many other positions that trans individuals can be in in the military that doesn’t jeopardize their access to medication. The trans history in the military goes back to 1952 when Christine became the first American to have a sex change, and she was a former Army private. Are we really saying that we have not advanced since 1952?
The rights of transgender people have been fought for for so long, why give up now? Trans people are just as normal and level headed as anyone else, and deserve to be treated as such. There is nothing wrong with them, they’re not irrational people. There is no reason that they cannot serve in the military, besides the fact that there are bigot’s making the decisions.
*Let it be noted that not all people who identify as trans go through a physical transition. There are more trans identities than man and woman, and even those that do identify as trans men and women do not always choose to go through a physical transition.

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