Supreme Court Says Trump Can Ban Transgender Military Members (For Now)

Back in mid 2017 when Donald Trump offhandedly called for a ban on transgender people serving in the military, it seemed destined to get nowhere. A U.S. District court put an injunction on the decision, with multiple federal Appeals Courts ruling similarly, thereby allowing transgender Americans to enlist as of the start of 2018.

However, it’s clear that Trump has some friends in the Supreme Court because the justices on Tuesday decided to allow his delayed transgender military ban to take effect immediately while relevant lawsuits proceed through the court system. The Supreme Court itself wasn’t weighing in on the merits of the case yet, but did effectively decide that LGBT discrimination would be acceptable in the meantime.

As you may recall, the president initially caught his own Defense Department by surprise by not consulting them on this policy or even determining if it was necessary. It took the recently resigned Defense Secretary Jim Mattis many months to come up with some sort of rationale, presumably just to appease his boss, as to why precluding transgender soldiers from serving might be necessary.

The Pentagon now argues that it’s not actually a hard ban on transgender people, just a policy that happens to preclude most transgender people. It’s all very reminiscent to the Muslim travel ban that the Trump administration unveiled and then repeatedly revised in attempts to give its discriminatory policy legal plausibility.

The ostensible objection from the Defense Department is that Americans with “gender dysphoria” are potentially too distracted to be part of the “most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.”

That’s total bull crap, though, because the Pentagon is willing to allow people diagnosed with gender dysophoria who forego transitioning and continue presenting as their birth sex to serve. I fail to see how people denying their gender identity is any less distracting, although it does seem like a devious tactic to keep transgender soldiers in the closet.

The military will also make exceptions for people who are a full three years complete with their transition, including all hormone treatments. Enlisted service members who were diagnosed with having gender dysphoria prior to the policy will also be allowed to continue serving and obtain medical treatment.

Make no mistake: these exceptions are far from generous and will still effectively keep most transgender people out of the military. In allowing for a small number of transgender soldiers, the Pentagon is purposely hoping to argue that a discriminatory policy does not discriminate.

The White House is declaring victory in light of the Supreme Court’s momentary – if not permanent – approval. Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said, “Due to lower courts issuing nationwide injunctions, our military had been forced to maintain a prior policy that poses a risk to military effectiveness and lethality for over a year. We will continue to defend in the courts the authority and ability of the Pentagon to ensure the safety and security of the American people.”

Key figures on the left are not buying this administration’s insistence that transgender troops make our country less safe. Senator Kamala Harris tweeted, “Transgender military members have the courage to serve our country and deserve to do so. We have to fight back to reverse this.”

Take Action

If you fall more in line with Senator Harris, sign this popular Care2 petition to support the legal efforts to allow transgender Americans to serve in the military.

43 comments

Barbara S
Barbara S22 hours ago

Thank you

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Elaine W
Elaine W6 days ago

This is ugly and nasty.

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Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan H8 days ago

a serious human rights violation

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Kevin B
Kevin B12 days ago

Thanks for posting

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Leo C
Leo C19 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Leo C
Leo C20 days ago

Thank you for posting!

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Colin C
Colin C22 days ago

Thanks informative

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD23 days ago

TYFS

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Chad Anderson
Chad A24 days ago

Thank you.

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Lesa D
Lesa DiIorio24 days ago

very disappointing...

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