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Donald Trump’s trans military ban set to come into effect on April 12

Reiss Smith March 27, 2019
Trans army vet Tanya Walker speaks to protesters in Times Square

Trans army vet Tanya Walker speaks to protesters in Times Square (Spencer Platt/Getty)

A US appeals court has cleared the way for President Donald Trump to usher in his ban on transgender people serving in the military.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday (March 26) granted a request from the Trump administration to lift a final injunction against the ban, following a similar ruling in Maryland on March 7. 

Trump’s ban can now be implemented as soon as April 12.

The court had previously ruled to remove the injunction, but the trial judge who issued it had claimed that it was still in effect, prompting today’s mandate.

Kelly Laco, spokesperson for the US justice department, said: “We are pleased the court cleared the way for the department of defence to be able to implement personnel policies it determined necessary to best defend our nation.”

Trump revealed ban on Twitter

Trump first announced his proposed ban in a tweet on July 2017.

“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,” he wrote.

Transgender veterans joined to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier—a military ban would prevent openly transgender people from enlisting in the military.
Transgender veterans joined to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty)

In August 2017, the White House wrote policy to enact the ban, which would prevent trans people from openly serving in the military.

It would also prevent the military from paying for gender confirmation surgeries, with exceptions for surgeries to “protect the health” of those who have already begun to medically transition.

Lesbian rights organisation vows to continue fight against Trump’s trans military ban

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a co-counsel in the DC lawsuit, says that it will continue to fight Trump’s ban.

“Today’s ruling only drives home the urgency of continuing to fight this destructive policy, which we will continue to do in the district court,” Shannon Minter, the centre’s legal director, told Out.

“We are concerned by the serious harms that the imminent enforcement of the ban is already causing, both to the military and to transgender service members, many of whom are now scrambling to come out and initiate a gender transition before the April 12 deadline in order to be included in the so-called ‘grandfather’ provision.”

“Today’s ruling only drives home the urgency of continuing to fight this destructive policy.”

— Shannon Minter, National Center

Ahead of the ruling, Democratic lawmakers including Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hung trans pride flags outside their offices to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31.

Sanders posted a photo of the pink, blue and white flag to Twitter. He wrote: “Discrimination has no place in our society. I am proud to display this flag as a symbol of my support for transgender people across the country. We must stand with transgender people in all of our communities.”

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