On Friday a United States federal appeals court for the District of Columbia, consisting of judges appointed by Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, ruled in favor of the Trump Administration’s transgender military ban that bans transgender individuals for participating in the armed forces.
This was the first legal victory for Trump.
The decision by a Washington, D.C. federal judge was overturned. The decision stated that the rights of transgender service members and recruits have been violated by a military ban.
In March, Trump endorsed a plan which was drawn up by former Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis. It stated that transgender individuals were restricted from serving in the military if they suffer from Gender Dysphoria Disorder.
This was a limited victory. There have been injunctions regarding transgender policy placed nationwide by different federal courts. The Trump administration has requested the Supreme Court look into the issue, which will happen on Jan. 11.
The assorted injunctions on the military ban permitted transgender troops to be included with the ranks of other service people starting Jan. 1, 2018.
According to a study the Pentagon commissioned the RAND Corp in 2016, there are several thousand transgender individuals in the military. Dozens of new transgender individuals have enrolled to serve since Jan 1.
Shannon Minter, who the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and one of the several organizations which challenged the policy, stated that the ruling that happened today was a devastating punch in the face of all transgender individuals who are serving in the military and have shown dedication and ability to serve.
Another group that filed a challenge was GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). Jennifer Levi who is the transgender rights project director, stated that if one thinks that the decision to force a transgender individual to ignore who they are so that they can be permitted serve in the military is not considered a ban they are totally misinformed .
The appeals court stated that it was wrong for the Washington court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to conclude that the most recent restrictions by the Trump Administration were the same as the original military ban which she had blocked previously.
In the ruling released by the appeals court they stated that it is a error to say that there was no major change in the new policy.
The Trump Administration’s new plan permits transgenders to serve if they meet the standards set by the military in regards to their physical and mental health and standards regarding sex.
Gender Dysphoria is defined by the American Psychiatric Association (AMA) as “clinically significant distress” which is caused by a conflict of one’s sex and their gender identity. According to the AMA, all transgender individuals do not have gender dysphoria. AMA has spoken out against the military ban.
In July, 2017, Trump announced on Twitter that transgender individuals who suffer from gender dysphoria are automatically banned from military service.
His decision to ban transgender individuals is a reversal of the policy set by President Obama who permitted transgenders to serve in the military and allowed them to be open about it. The former President even allowed transgenders to obtain the medical care necessary for transitioning one’s gender.
Written By Barbara Sobel
Reuters: U.S. court rules for Trump on transgender military limits
USA Today: Federal appeals court sides with Trump on military transgender ban, but injunctions remain in place
Military Times: Circuit Court backs DoD’s transgender service policy
Featured and Top Image Courtesy Of Ted Eytan’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License