ACLU Sues Trump Over Military Transgender Ban

Marsha Scott
August 29, 2017

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the suit on behalf of two transgender people who wish to enlist but won't be able to under the ban, a transgender woman who has served in the US army for more than 12 years, the Human Rights Campaign and the Gender Justice League.

Friday, President Donald Trump signed an official memo implementing a new policy on "military service for transgender individuals".

It was the second lawsuit announced on Monday, after a separate complaint was filed on behalf of LGBT groups and three other transgender individuals.

In contrast, Trump announced on Twitter he'd ban transgender people from the military after an apparent lack of consultation with military leaders.

The RAND Corporation found in a 2016 study there are about 2,500 transgender people out of 1.3 million active duty service members, and 1,500 out of 825,000 in the reserves (with upper end of estimates are 7,000 and 4,000 respectively). Stone has received numerous commendations for his service.

Lambda Legal, a national legal nonprofit focused on LGBTQ issues and based in NY, teamed up with the OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) in filing a suit against the Trump administration Monday, stating that they side with "every single transgender service member and those who want to serve".

The ACLU plaintiffs, who claim they face immediate and irreparable harm, are asking the court to declare the ban invalid as an unconstitutional violation of their rights to equal treatment and due process.

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Last month, Trump announced on Twitter that the government would not "accept or allow" transgender people to serve in the us military.

It also suggests Trump's motivations were "purely political", and that he was trying to get more votes in Congress to fund his U.S. -Mexico wall by appealing to members who morally disapprove of men and women who are transgender. Trump cited concerns over "tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail".

Like numerous other plaintiffs, Stone disclosed his transgender status following the Obama administration's change in policy. Studies and advocates place the number of trans people now serving in the armed forces between 1,300 and 11,000.

Trump's claim that allowing transgender Americans to serve openly would harm unit cohesion is undermined by the experiences of soldiers in 18 countries were they're allowed to serve, including Canada, Australia, Germany and Israel, the suit says. It doesn't detail how transgender people now in the military will be dealt with, leaving that to the secretary of defense. "The most they can decide are the individual fates of now serving transgender personnel, whose presence will be inconsistent with new military policy".

"We do not comment on active or pending litigation", Ninio Fetalvo, a White House spokesman, said in an email seeking comment on the suits.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD, filed a lawsuit against the ban earlier this month in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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