Trump Bans Trans

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On July 26, Donald Trump tweeted that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” The tweets led to several lawsuits by transgender veterans, soldiers, and groups, such as Equity California and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). The plaintiffs include current transgender troops who wished to serve but are now incapable of doing so.

Trump’s tweets indicated that the main reason for the decision was the “tremendous costs and disruption…” though the ACLU has stated that “The Trump administration has provided no evidence that this pronouncement was based on an analysis of the actual cost and disruption allegedly caused by allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly.” While this move might seem new and drastic, it merely reverses the action made in 2014 under Obama, which lifted the previous ban on trans service members.

Although the ban is set to take effect on February 21, 2018, the Department of Defense is currently working in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security on a case-by-case basis to allow active transgender troops to continue serving, based on “military readiness.” As of a 2016 RAND study, there were over 1,300 openly trans active service members, all of whom are now candidates to be either kept or discharged from military service, pending the DoD’s assessment.

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