Transgender service members file lawsuit against Trump for military ban

Aug 29, 2017, 00:38
Transgender service members file lawsuit against Trump for military ban

On Friday evening, when governments traditionally issue news they want to bury, President Donald Trump issued a memorandum instructing the secretaries of defense and homeland security to restrict service by transgender people in the United States military.

In late July, Trump first floated his plan for a transgender military ban in a series of tweets that caught many, including military leaders, by surprise.

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN immediately filed suit last week on behalf of three individuals, one of whom is now serving in the military and two who seek to join, and two human rights organizations. The decision is being viewed as a setback for LGBT rights even though a 2016 study showed that allowing transgender soldiers to serve openly would have minimal impact.

"Men and women who are transgender with the courage and capacity to serve deserve more from their commander-in-chief", the statement said.

"President Trump's actions immediately caused the individual plaintiffs and other transgender service members to fear for their careers, the well-being of their family members and dependents, their health care and, in some cases, their safety", the ACLU lawsuit states.

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One of the Seattle plaintiffs is 33-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Cathrine Schmid, who has served for more than 12 years and is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of the city.

She, like thousands of others, has been left in limbo after President Trump left Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to decide whether to retain existing transgender recruits.

The ACLU's suit seeks a preliminary or permanent court order barring enforcement of the ban and preventing any transgender service members from being discharged, blocked from promotion or denied medical care.

They argue the ban violates the equal protection, due process and free speech guarantees of the Constitution.

"Allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly and providing them with necessary health care does nothing to harm military readiness or unit cohesion", Block added.

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For example, Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone has served in the U.S. Navy for 9years, including a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. The military spends ten times that amount - $84 million annually - providing Viagra and sexual dysfunction medications to members of the armed forces.

"The secretaries have no discretion to rewrite policy or create blanket exemptions for classes of service members", the professors wrote in a memo put out by the Palm Center.

Two separate lawsuits have been filed against the Trump administration for trying to institute an across-the-board ban prohibiting transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Transition-related surgery, which has been cited by critics as costly and disruptive, would reduce the deployability of no more than 130 service members every year and make up no more than 0.13% of spending on healthcare for active duty military members, according to a study Carter commissioned by the Rand Corporation.

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