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Published: Tue, August 29, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump administration sued over transgender military ban — BBCI

Trump administration sued over transgender military ban — BBCI

All service members have a statutory entitlement to full doctor-recommended medical care.

Trump's policy, which goes into effect January 1, reverses one from the Obama administration in 2016 that allowed transgender individuals to serve openly without fear of being discharged. In Friday's memorandum, Trump directed the departments of Defense and Homeland Security "to determine how to address transgender individuals now serving" and to halt the use of resources to fund "sex-reassignment surgical procedures". Even if the court doesn't reach the question of whether transgender individuals are protected under gender discrimination laws, it could hold that the government - which argued for the need of the ban to cut medical costs and reduce military disruption - has not stated a rational basis of denying individuals the right to enlist based on their gender identity. The lawsuit also claims the ban is based on uninformed speculation, myths, and stereotypes, as well as moral disapproval, directed at an already vulnerable minority.

"Defendants' disparate treatment of transgender individuals deprives them of their right to equal dignity and stigmatizes them as second-class citizens in violation of equal protection guarantees", Lambda Legal wrote in briefs.

'This ban not only wrongfully prevents patriotic, talented Americans from serving, it also compromises the safety and security of our country, ' Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said.

But there's no evidence that transgender servicemen and servicewomen hinder the effectiveness of the military, or its lethality, or disrupt unit cohesion or tax resources.

The lawsuit is at least the third filed against Trump's transgender military ban.

Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement all aspects of Trump's proposal to ban transgender people from the USA military "can be easily debunked by the conclusions drawn from the Department of Defense's own review process".

'Since the ban on open service by transgender men and women was lifted, I've been able to live and serve as my authentic self, which has allowed me to form stronger bonds with my fellow service members'.

Trump's directive calls for a new policy to ban trans people from enlisting and cut off healthcare coverage for transition-related surgery, a bugbear for many congressional conservatives, within six months. Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Defense commissioned a study to assess the likely costs and impact of transgender military service.

"For our president, who opted out of serving in the military, to attack transgender people for being unfit to serve... is the height of hypocrisy", said Virginian transgender candidate Danica Roem. It leaves determining what will happen to transgender individuals now serving to the Defense Defense.

The ban was widely seen as an appeal by Trump, a Republican, to his conservative political base.

The White House, the Defense Department and the Justice Department didn't immediately respond Monday to the Washington Blade's request for comment on the lawsuits.

Both lawsuits want federal courts to permanently block the ban from coming into force.

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