But for now we just fight onLatest Issue, Trans Progressive Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Commentary: Trans Progressive
Sept. 5, Equality California, joined by the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California challenging the Trump administration’s transgender military ban, Stockman v. Trump. It was the fourth lawsuit filed over the ban. Nov. 6, GLAD and NCLR filed a response to an Oct. 23 request by the Department of Justice (DoJ) to dismiss to deny a request for a preliminary injunction and dismiss the lawsuit.
GLAD and NCLR had filed another lawsuit previously, Doe v. Trump. The DoJ made the same arguments to deny a request for a preliminary injunction and dismiss that lawsuit, but assigned Judge Kollar-Kotelly ruled against the government.
According to Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling, the jurisdictional arguments reduced to a few simple points: “the Presidential Memorandum [implementing the ban against transgender military service] has not effected a definitive change in military policy; rather, that policy is still subject to review; until that review is complete, transgender service members are protected; and any prospective injuries are too speculative to require judicial intervention.”
She granted a preliminary injunction against discharge of current transgender military service members, and accession of transgender people into the military services beginning in January 2018.
“Last week, we secured a nationwide injunction that halts Trump’s ban,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter in a Nov. 6 press release regarding Stockman v. Trump . “Right now, every transgender service member is protected, and qualified transgender Americans who wish to enlist can do so as of Jan. 1, 2018. But we know this battle is not over – every federal court that declares this ban unconstitutional moves us closer to a permanent end to this nightmare for our dedicated and courageous service members.”
What Equality California, GLAD, and NCLR, are looking for is multiple preliminary injunctions stopping the Trump administration from enforcing a ban on transgender military service.
A memorandum issued July 28, 2015 by then Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made it Department of Defense (DoD) policy that no service member would be involuntarily separated, denied re-enlistment, or continuation of active or reserve service on the basis of their gender identity. June 30, 2016, DoD issued Memorandum 16-005, which set policy for when accession would be allowed, when each military service would be required to have its service policy in place, to include transition care re-enlistment and continuation of service.
What President Donald Trump directed the military to do was turn back the clock. He began it with three tweets, which included the statement “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”
Aug. 25, President Trump issued a memorandum entitled “Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security.” It referred to policy prior to June 2016, stating it “generally prohibited openly transgender individuals from accession into the United States military and authorized the discharge of such individuals.” He directed the secretary of defense and the secretary of homeland security to develop a plan on how to implement a plan to revert to the pre-June 2016 policy.
Memorandum 16-005 would be rescinded.
There is an annual Project Trans BBQ at Balboa Park, and this year’s went off a few weeks ago. While I was there I ended up talking to a couple of active duty transgender sailors. I on one hand was so glad for them that they could serve out and proud now; on the other hand I was so frustrated that capriciously the Trump administration is looking to take that away.
So now our LGBT legal organizations are fighting to hold the ground on transgender military service so many of us thought we’d already won. In the end, I’m sure transgender service members will win, but for now we just fight on.
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