Last October, we reported that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s so-called transgender military ban, first announced by Donald Trump via Twitter in July. Three other federal courts have also ruled that the administration cannot enforce the ban before they issue final decisions as to whether or not the ban is legal. By issuing preliminary injunctions, the courts indicated they believed the ban was likely unconstitutional.
Despite these court rulings, the White House issued a memorandum on March 23—the day the ban was originally scheduled to go into effect—effectively signaling its intent to move forward with it anyway, by granting the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security the power to “exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals.” The memorandum notes the position of the Secretary of Defense that “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria…are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
Our partners at Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and other LGBTQ and veterans’ rights organizations are fighting hard in the courts to prevent this discriminatory policy from taking effect. Given the courts’ preliminary rulings, we remain optimistic that justice will ultimately prevail for transgender individuals currently serving and hoping to serve in the U.S. military.