ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging Trump's Transgender Service Member Ban

Trump's Ban on Transgender Military Recruits Is As Cruel and Stupid As Promised

Trump's Ban on Transgender Military Recruits Is As Cruel and Stupid As Promised

The second lawsuit, filed in federal court in Maryland by the American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of the ACLU of Maryland and five now serving transgender service members, argues that the ban denies transgender people equal protection under the law and discriminates based on both sex and transgender status.

The lawsuit also pointed to a 2016 Department of Justice report which "rejected the notion that medical costs, military readiness, or other factors presented any reason to discriminate against transgender service members, many of whom had already been serving with honor in silence for years".

On Friday, Trump formalized his ban that he first tweeted about in July. All service members have a statutory entitlement to full doctor-recommended medical care.

"Without input from the Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff, and without any deliberative process, President Trump cast aside the rigorous, evidence-based policy of the Open Service Directive, and replaced it with discredited myths and stereotypes, uninformed speculation, and animus against people who are transgender", the ACLU lawsuit states.

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".

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The plaintiffs claim the ban violates the equal-protection and due-process guarantees under the Fifth Amendment, as well free speech rights. The complaint, which can be read in full here, slams Trump's motivation for the ban as "purely political" and "reflecting a desire to accommodate legislators" in an effort to secure funding for the planned border wall with Mexico.

According to a Rand Corp. study issued past year, there would be "minimal" impacts on readiness, with only 10 to 130 active-duty members having reduced deployability because of gender transition-related treatments, the ACLU's suit says.

In the order, Trump said the Obama administration "failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the ... longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources". Studies and advocates place the number of trans people now serving in the armed forces between 1,300 and 11,000. Trump in his order gave U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis six months to submit a plan for implementing the policy. Also named in the ACLU lawsuit are each of the civilian heads of the military departments. It leaves determining what will happen to transgender individuals now serving to the Defense Defense.

Renn's lawsuit is filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the plaintiffs in the case this week intend to file a motion for a preliminary injunction to block implementation of Trump's ban as litigation is underway.

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