The Pentagon Can’t Stop the Trans Ban. Now It’s Time for Congress and the Courts to Act.

On Monday, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Susan Collins of Maine introduced a bipartisan amendment to the defense authorization bill that would block President Trump’s disgraceful and unconstitutional ban on transgender service members for those currently enlisted. To be clear, the amendment would not halt every aspect of the ban — such as blocking transgender service members from receiving necessary transition-related health care — but it would lay down an important line in the sand.

Senators will now have a choice to make. They can either stand up for the thousands of transgender service members who volunteered to defend this country and serve with distinction in the armed forces, or they can stand with the ugly discrimination of Trump’s ban.

Some have pointed to headlines like this from USA Today“Mattis freezes transgender policy; allows troops to continue serving, pending study” — as a reason not to act. However, the headlines are misleading. The Pentagon cannot halt the ban.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has made this clear. “The department will carry out the president’s policy direction,” he said, “in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security.” The Palm Center further noted that, “Secretary Jim Mattis does not have discretion to ignore the President’s order to ban transgender troops and he has not frozen the process.”

Secretary Mattis is studying how to implement the ban, not whether to institute it. That decision has already been ordered by the commander-in-chief.

Anyone hoping that the Pentagon will find a way to save the day is going to be sorely disappointed. Now is a time for action in defense of transgender service members. It is for this reason that the ACLU filed a lawsuit to challenge the ban on August 28, arguing that it violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process.

It is also for this reason that Sens. Gillibrand and Collins are offering their amendment to the defense bill. Transgender troops like those the ACLU is representing in our lawsuit need Congress to act.

Petty Officer 1st Class Brock Stone has served in the U.S. Navy for nine years, including a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Kate Cole has served in the U.S. Army for almost 10 years, including a one-year deployment to Afghanistan where she served as a team leader and designated marksman. Senior Airman John Doe has served for approximately six year on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, where he was awarded “Airman of the Year” for his flight and hopes to serve in the Armed Forces for his entire career.

Airman 1st Class Seven Ero George is a member of the Air National Guard. He is training as a nurse and intends to pursue commission in the U.S. Army. Petty Officer 1st Class Teagan Gilbert has served in the U.S. Navy for 13 years, including a one-year deployment to Afghanistan, and currently serves as an information technology specialist. Tech. Sgt. Tommie Parker served in the Marine Corps for four years and has served in the Air National Guard for 16 years, currently as a fuel technician.

Each of these individuals — and many others just like them — have proven that they have the courage and capacity to ably serve in the U.S. armed forces. Now is the time for our political leaders to stand up for them by rejecting the unconstitutional discrimination that lies at the heart of Trump’s ban.

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Chris

The fact that transgender people have been serving and that it hasn't been an issue just goes to show that Trump's whole reasoning for this ban is nonsense.

Anonymous

It hasn't been a "problem" because it's been swept under the rug for decades. Just like gays and "don't ask, don't tell." I remember the don't ask days and everyone still knew who the gay and lesbians were. And frankly no one cared. The only time it became an issue is when we were deployed on ship and used common showers, etc... the white bread rednecks would make comments and jokes etc. That was the problem, the gays didn't bother anyone and I trusted them more then the rednecks. They were cowards.

Spec Ops retiree

Chris

The fact that transgender people have been serving and that it hasn't been an issue just goes to show that Trump's whole reasoning for this ban is nonsense.

Richard W. Fitch

There can be little doubt that this order from djt is a means of pandering to his extreme kkkristianist base and also little doubt that Pope Mickey (aka VP Pence) had a hand in drafting this policy. The military spends more to supply troops with Viagra than it spends on the medical needs of transgender service personnel. As the article illustrates, time after time these transgender troops demonstrate the same levels of skill and valor as any other service member.

Veteran

I am for the ban! I served in the military and there is no privacy. You want men to shower with women and vice versa is wrong on all levels. None of you have ever served a day in the military to know how stressful it is to know that one day you will be called up to go across the ocean to fight. None of you know what it is like to shower in an open bay shower or use a toilet with no doors while on your period. You have relationships in the military and to have a transgender female to date a heterosexual male and both in uniform is WRONG! The man is going to be lied to and this will inhibit his will to fight but to murder. The ban is the best thing that has ever happned. Rape and other issue will make the transgender to commit suicide. Has anyone really asked how other soldiers feel? No! I will not allow my sons and my daughter to serve to protect a country that will not protect their privacy. Instead of encouranging them why not help them instead. Give them shots of the hormones needed to boost testostrum in the males and estrogen to the females. Stop making them into eunuch to fight wars.

Anonymous

I don't know about you but when I was in and we took showers, (which by the way is pretty much only public at certain places and conditions), I wasn't interested in looking at the junk of other people. I tried to get my shower and get out. There was no rape or grab ass, just showering. No maybe back in your day it was different. But the modern military person couldn't give a shot about your gender, how you identify or whatever. As long as your doing your job then what's the problem. I guess a transgender person could be distributive by wearing a female combat uniform instead of a males. Oh wait, they look exactly the same.

We need to purge the military of old, salty, corrupt people who are in fear of losing their power and control to a bunch of faggots. They are afraid and they should be, we are driving you out and defending our country even better without your old ideals.

Anonymous

So you'll be voting for Trump in 2020?

Anonymous

First, thank you for your service.

Second, despite your willingness to join the armed forces, it doesn't appear you learned anything about the pillars of team work, much less military life, or life in general. You know why transgender people commit suicide? Disgusting, entitled, discriminatory, backwards, ill informed attitudes like yours. How dare you equate changing your rag without a door, with the difficulties transgender people face. I'm sure you tried to be discreet, as do transgender people.

Who has ever heard of a band of heterosexual women gangbanging a pre-op transgender M2F (that's male to female with original plumbing) to 'straighten' him out? Nobody, ever. But heterosexual men raping lesbian women (before we even talk trans) to straighten them out; more than you think. Google it, seriously.

It's probably best that you don't send your kids off to the military, it'd be a shame to think they spewed their mommy-imparted hateful opinions on others.

As a reminder, the military protects and defends the constitution of the United States along with many other facets you are no doubt familiar with. So, if you really cared about defending these freedoms, which grant transgender people that same rights you and yours receive, then you should drag your kids into the recruiters office and beg them to take your offspring. They could better themselves, open their minds and learn to just get along with others even if there are differences in opinions, expression and identity.

Finally, if your worry is privacy, rest assured there is no such thing these days. Since medical, financial and even military records have made their way into the hands of the public, thanks to poor protection of data, that really should be the least of your worries.

Bitchcakes

Veteran:

You may need therapy. You clearly have issues.

You are a bigot and seem determined to project YOUR issues onto others.

"The man is going to be lied to" -what is lying automatically a transgender trait or is it yours?

Transgendered people already serve and have been for decades. Just as homosexuals have since time began. There ARE NO issues...until some narrow minded assholes starts whinging. More often it's not someone actually in the military...or it's a Vet... with a chip on their shoulder.

massachusetts

Massachusetts hates Trump,but loves ACLU

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