BREAKING: Trump Administration Doubles Down on Anti-Transgender Military BanBy Shane Stahl • March 23, 2018 • 9:53 pm
The White House made clear this evening that — despite multiple legal challenges and injunctions — it’s committed to seeing through a discriminatory policy that bans transgender Americans from serving their country. The administration is signaling its intention to move forward with supporting a ban that is largely identical to that originally announced over Twitter by President Trump last summer.
Following President Trump’s announcement of the ban last summer, lawsuits were brought on behalf on transgender soldiers by our legal partner organizations, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and OutServe. Four different courts ruled against the ban, resulting in stays being issued on implementation and clearing the way for transgender Americans to officially and openly take steps to enlist on January 1, 2018. In all cases, the judges ruled that the ban was not valid military policy, but rather, outright and indefensible discrimination.
Following the stay, transgender people were able to enlist in the military starting January 1, adhering to a timeline proposed by the previous Obama administration for open transgender service to begin.
The current policy regarding open military service by transgender soldiers has not had any effect on military readiness, and any American who can meet the existing standards for service should be allowed the opportunity to service. If allowed, the ban would rip thousands of transgender servicemembers from their posts, leaving gaping holes in national security. Several Senators, including Republican veterans John McCain and Joni Ernst, have spoken against the proposed ban. In a July 2017 statement, McCain offered:
“There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military-regardless of their gender identity.”
This is only the latest in a string of anti-LGBTQ moves by President Trump and his administration. In February 2017, he and Secretary of Education Betsy Devos rescinded guidance issued to schools by the Obama administration on how best to accommodate and treat transgender students. In January of this year, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights opened a “religious conscience and freedom” division, which would allow healthcare professionals to openly discriminate against LGBTQ people and others by claiming a religious or moral objection. Last week, the administration announced it would no longer investigate claims of harassment and discrimination by transgender students regarding access to bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.