U.S. soldiers sue Trump over ban on transgender military service

Trevor Jackson
August 11, 2017

We were shocked and appalled to learn that Donald Trump tweeted his intention to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military. LGBT rights advocates have pointed to studies that have reached opposite conclusions.

In the court filing, the plaintiffs said tweets have become "official guidance, approved by the White House counsel's office, to be communicated to the Department of Defense".

Trump's tweet came more than a year after the Pentagon announced that trans people could openly serve in the military, and would not be discharged on the basis of their gender identity.

The suit said Trump's tweets have "already resulted in immediate, concrete injury.by unsettling and destabilizing plaintiffs' reasonable expectation of continued service".

The plaintiffs have not been publicly identified, so they can not be targeted in the purge - but they say due to the decision they face dramatic uncertainty about their futures including the potential loss of their professions, livelihoods, and post-military and retirement benefits.

"Last year, the Department of Defense announced that transgender people could serve openly", one anonymous plaintiff said in a statement.

The Coast Guard's highest ranking officer said Tuesday that he "will not break faith" with transgender service members under his command despite a recent announcement by the Trump administration.

"I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military", Ireland told Air Force Times. 'But now, I'm anxious about my family's future'.

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Lawyers handling the lawsuit said they hoped the court would move swiftly to prevent a ban from taking effect, given the uncertainty that transgender service members now face in regard to their livelihoods and retirement benefits.

Robin Rayne Nelson/ZUMA Press/NewscomIt's still not clear how or even really if the military's transgender ban will proceed, but two legal organizations are nevertheless suing to try to stop it. The lawsuit claims President Trump's directive somehow violates Equal Protection and Due Process. The Rand Corporation estimated that shutting down payments for transgender members' medical services would save $8.4 million per year.

In late July, Trump posted a series of statements on Twitter saying that he was reversing the Obama-era policy.

The suit names President Trump as a defendant as well as several other top military officials including Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford.

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates there are more than 15,000 transgender troops in the U.S. military. "We are still waiting for more guidance from the White House". If that happens, Lambda Legal, Outserve, and the American Civil Liberties Union may open their own lawsuits against the Trump administration. The study concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a "minimal impact" on both military readiness and health care costs.

"In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect", Dunford said.

"The damage is happening now", said Jennifer Levi, Director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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