The Associated Press has just reported that a U.S. court has blocked U.S. President Donald Trump from implementing his ban on transgender military service members. Details are still emerging, but we’ll update this post as soon as we know more.
You can read a more detailed analysis of the judge’s decision, but her ruling basically boils down to the fact that Trump provided no compelling or persuasive reason for banning trans people from the military. His reasons and final decision (offered without any additional evidence) actually contradicted extensive evidence presented during the Obama Administration in favor of open transgender military service.
According to kcar.com:
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said in her opinion that the president’s directives are “not genuinely based on legitimate concerns regarding military effectiveness or budget constraints, but are instead driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally.”
It’s not yet clear whether this court decision came from any of the lawsuits led by Lambda Legal, the LGBTQ advocacy group, or OutServe-SLDN, an association for actively serving LGBT military personnel and veterans.
It’s possible that the court decision may have arisen out of some other legal filing.
BREAKING: U.S. court bars Trump from changing military policy on service by transgender people.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) October 30, 2017
U.S. President Donald Trump announced his trans military ban via Twitter on July 26, 2017. At the time, he wrote:
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.
Trump officially signed a memo putting the transphobic ban into action on Aug. 25, 2017.
It turned out that his claim of having consulted a military generals and experts only referred to retired ones rather than any active ones. He also didn’t consult with anyone in the Pentagon or the U.S. Department of Defense before issuing his tweet.
He also overestimated the cost of transgender military healthcare. The military currently spends $41.6 million annually on the erectile dysfunction medication Viagra, nearly five to 20 times what it would cost to fund transgender-related healthcare.
According to a 2016 report by The RAND Corporation — a research organization that examines public policy challenges — an estimated 1,320 to 6,620 transgender individuals are already actively serving in the military. The National Center for Transgender Equality puts that number closer to 15,000.
A recent Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll of 1,249 American adults (including 533 Democrats and 434 Republicans) revealed that 58% agreed with the statement, “Transgender people should be allowed to serve in the military.”
Seven Republican congresspeople openly disagree with Trump’s ban including Senators John McCain of Arizona, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Orrin Hatch of Utah (a man who once compared openly gay teachers to Nazis), Richard Shelby of Alabama and Thom Tillas of North Carolina, Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio.
In addition to the seven Republican congresspeople, 19 state attorneys general also oppose the ban.
Featured image by seb_ra via iStock