We Are Asking the Court to Put an Immediate Stop to the President’s Anti-Trans Military Ban

Imagine serving your country for over a decade in the armed forces — many of those years hiding the truth of who you are, but still showing up each day to fight for something bigger than yourself.

You put yourself on the line.

You depend on your service for your benefits, for your survival, for the survival of your family.

 You plan your entire life around your career.

After years of committed service, the government finally changes policy and you can serve proudly and openly. You can be who you are and continue to thrive in your work. You don’t have to hide under the mask of an inauthentic self.

Then, in an instant, after you rely on assurances that your livelihood and existence will be safe, your government turns on you — in a tweet from your commander in chief, you are told that you cannot serve “in any capacity”; you are told that because you are transgender, everything about who you are and what you have done is irrelevant because you are not wanted. The entire country watches as you are humiliated and demeaned, and everyone is sent a message that somehow you are unworthy of even basic decency because of who you are.

This is what happened to transgender individuals in the United States armed forces.

For years, transgender individuals were barred from open military service based on outdated and outright incorrect views about what it means to be transgender. In 2016, after years of study and careful analysis, that ban on service was lifted, and a new policy allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the Armed Forces was implemented.

But after a tweet from President Trump on July 26 and a subsequent directive signed on August 25, the Department of Defense was instructed by the president to reverse course and again ban transgender individuals from openly serving in the military. The directive also included banning coverage for medically necessary medical procedures and beginning a process of subjecting currently serving individuals to separation just for being transgender.

Pensions are on the line. Medical care is being cancelled. Enlistments are prohibited. People’s entire lives and careers are disrupted.

Trump’s decision was cruel. It was directly inconsistent with the studied opinion of military experts. It was and will be extremely costly. And it is illegal.

On August 28, the ACLU sued the president and the Department of Defense for violating the constitutional rights of transgender service members.

Today we are filing a motion for a preliminary injunction asking the court to put an immediate stop to the President’s ban to ensure that the harms to our clients and the thousands of other transgender individuals serving our country are rectified immediately.

Individuals like our client Staff Sgt. Kate Cole should not have to worry about whether their job, health care, entire life is on the line— not because of the risks inherent in the work she has so bravely taken on, but due to the political whims of her commander in chief pandering to a base that would like to see her very existence erased. Staff Sgt. Cole has served in the military since she enlisted at 17. She has deployed to Afghanistan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. This work, her service, is the only job she has ever known, and she has devoted her life to it.

Now her medical care has already been cancelled and she risks losing everything. And for what? Because the president decided to do the military “a favor” and end transgender service without having to study it.

Transgender people are not pawns in a political game. Our lives, our health care, our work cannot be erased with a tweet. We will not let that happen, and we are heading to court to stop it.

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Anonymous

You tax money doesn't go to their need for gender reassignment surgeries or medicine. A large majority of the costs needed for their transition are not covered and come directly out of their pocket - not yours. Lucky for you, isn't it?

Chris Patti

Why should the military pay for Viagra? Because, as another commenter observed, people sign themselves over to the military when they join. They literally BECOME (in the words of many drill sergeants, US government property.

Therefore, if someone is having a medical crisis in their lives (Like, oh, say, their marriage is threatening to fall apart, or they feel trapped in the wrong body) then it's the government's responsibility to put things aright. Full stop.

Paul H

My observations on this are simple and direct - if you do not like trans or LGBTQ people in general I have one question for you: what is this to you? What is the compelling argument, either for the state or the individual. There are no civil rights being impugned here other than those of the LGBTQ individuals. This nonsensical "siege" mentality from the right that there is some inherent right to discriminate is really beyond the pale.

In short, if you don't like LGBTQ persons, mind your own damn business and perhaps get a real hobby rather than harassing people. For the transgendered personnel we should honor your service to this country just the same as all other soldiers.

Anonymous

Ummm, Title IX? From many women and girl's points of view boys can now identify their way around Title IX and force girls to undress in front of them. Also, Gender identity is based on GENDER STEREOTYPES. Stereotypes which were almost dead back when my daughter was born in 2009 (at least for girls). Now, they are back full force and if transgenders obtain legal protection via the federal government it will be against the law to dispute those stereotypes.

Anonymous

Nobody has a right to serve in the military. There are many factors in determining whether an individual is fit to serve. Our Commander in Chief has the right to make that determination, just as the former president did when he allowed them to serve. As much as modern society likes to twist everything out of the norm, this is a mental disorder and not what we need on the battlefield.

Anonymous

People don't understand that Obama had to force through some special concessions for them as far as the medical side goes. This would have especially been true for new recruits. I left the military for a year and then tried to go back in. I couldn't because I had been diagnosed with chronic migraines during that year.

Anonymous

I'm Celtic Pagan and was pretty careful about keeping that to myself while serving in the military for 8 years. I slipped up once and got escorted to the 1st Sergeant's office whereupon he asked me if I was a "wicker" (I kid you not). I looked him right in the eye and courageously declared the truth - I am not a wicker. I am not a Wiccan, either, but I was perfectly fine not elaborating further on either subject with him. I still keep my beliefs to myself more often or not when I'm not being anonymous. I don't really understand the need to share things with people who obviously don't want to know.

J. sarah

I am Transgender and served in Vietnam and other countries. I knew wh I was but I didn't have a name to put to who I am. I served in the Naval Special Forces as a Long Range Shooter and Infiltration Specialist. y service may have saved many American lives during our occupation in the countries I was sent to. Some knew I was Trans but allowed me to do my job honorably. Trump has no Idea what our troops do so he needs to keep out of the Military

Anonymous

Nobody's medical care is being cancelled and no re-enlistments are being denied. If they are, the SSGT needs to ask for the policy stating why. There isn't any. Nothing has changed since June 30, 2016. You are not helping those of us who MAY be affected come Feb/Mar 2018 by fear-mongering.

New Yorker

I really believe that the supreme court would support the position that no American citizen can be denied the right to run for the office of President. The current president's ban on transgenders in the military would absolutely prevent a transgender person from doing so. If that transgender individual would win the office of president, they would be breaking the ban, as they would become Commander-in-Chief. This is the highest rank in the military. This is absolutely a no-no in regards to the ban on transgender individuals. Should the Supreme Court side with the President, they would then deny some citizens from possibly holding the highest office in the land. I do not think that this would be a popular decision in this country.

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