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Transgender troops can sue Pentagon over Trump’s ban, judge rules

Vic Parsons August 21, 2019
Transgender troops pose for a photo in Arlington National Cemetery, from left: retired Army lieutenant colonel Ann Murdoch, Transgender American Veterans Association Vice President Gene Silvestri, Yvonne Cook-Riley, retired Army major and Transgender American Veterans Association President Evan Young, petty officer first class Alice Ashton and retired Air Force major Nella Ludlow

Trans troops like these service members are discharged if they refuse to serve under the gender they were assigned at birth.(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty)

Men and women who have been barred from serving in the US military because of their transgender status can move forward with a lawsuit attempting to overturn the Trump administration’s transgender troops ban.

A federal judge in Maryland ruled on August 20 that the court challenge against the Pentagon’s policy banning trans troops can proceed, according to Stars and Stripes.

US district judge George Russell said that trans men and women who would otherwise be eligible for military service could proceed with their challenge to the Pentagon’s partial ban.

However, Russell also said that five of the six people who originally brought the case could not proceed with the lawsuit, because they had been able to remain in the military.

In his decision, Russell said that the Pentagon policy was based on trans status and not a medical condition.

“By its plain language, then, the [transgender policy] discriminates on the basis of transgender status,” Russell wrote. “In addition the plan categorically bars transgender individuals who have transitioned to their preferred gender — a recommended treatment to alleviate the distress dysphoria causes.”

Josh Block, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, said in a statement: “This is a victory for our clients who want the opportunity to serve their country openly and freely in our armed forces.

“We will continue to hold the government accountable for their attempts to ban trans people from the military and shut down judicial review of the policy”

The Trump administration had tried to have the lawsuit dismissed entirely. It is one of several cases that has been brought to challenge the Pentagon’s policy banning almost all trans people from enlisting.

Trump’s transgender troops ban.

Donald Trump’s ban on trans military service people went into effect on April 12, jeopardising the livelihood of thousands.

Any person who comes out or is outed as trans from April 12 will be discharged, unless they are willing to suppress their identity.

The military will not pay for any gender confirmation surgeries, apart from those which will “protect the health” of people who have begun to medically transition.

After April 12, those applying to join the services with a record of gender dysphoria have to adhere to the gender they were assigned at birth in order to serve.

A doctor will have to certify that they have been stable in that gender for at least 36 months, and that they have not medically transitioned.

Trans people without a diagnosis will be permitted to serve in the gender they were assigned at birth, but only if they have not had any confirmation surgeries.

The legislation was enacted almost two years after Trump first announced his much-maligned policy on Twitter.

According to the Palm Center, about 13,700 people were set to lose their jobs as a result.

More: Donald Trump, Pentagon, trans troops ban

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