Two LGBTQ advocacy groups have filed lawsuits against President Trump for banning transgenders from the military.
On Wednesday, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed a lawsuit on behalf of five transgender service members in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. They argue that President Trump’s ban on transgender service members violates the Equal Protection portion of the Due Process clauses of the Fifth Amendment.
“The categorical exclusion of transgender people from military service lacks a rational basis, is arbitrary, and cannot be justified by sufficient federal interests,” the groups argued in their complaint.
Although he claimed to have consulted with “generals and military experts,” Trump’s announcement of the ban caught military leaders completely off guard.
“United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump said in a July Tweet.
“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,” he said in a second tweet.
But the Joint Chiefs of Staff soon announced that it would be some time before they were prepared to execute such an order. They issued a letter saying as much the very next day.
“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance,” Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford reportedly wrote.
The plaintiffs in the case are listed as Jane Does 1-5 and reportedly have 60 years combined military service, according to the advocates. There are roughly 10,000 transgender individuals serving in the active and reserve military currently.
“Trump’s directive to exclude transgender people from military service has created a tidal wave of harms that have already been felt throughout our armed services,” Shannon Minter, a transgender legal expert and NCLR’s legal director, said in a statement.
“Transgender service members have been blindsided by this shift and are scrambling to deal with what it means for their futures and their families. The President’s mistreatment of these dedicated troops will serve only to weaken and demoralize our armed forces.”
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