LGBT Groups File Lawsuit Against Trump Over Transgender Military Ban

trump, military
U.S. President Donald Trump greets members of the military as he arrives at Raleigh County Memorial Airport in Beaver, West Virginia, U.S., July 24, 2017. |

Two LGBT organizations have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump over his recently announced decision to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals openly serving in the U.S. armed forces.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders filed the suit on Wednesday in district court on behalf of five transgender military personnel.

"Execution of the president's directive will result in an end to service by openly transgender service members and has already resulted in immediate, concrete injury to Plaintiffs by unsettling and destabilizing plaintiffs' reasonable expectation of continued service," the complaint claims.

"The directive to reinstate a ban on open service by transgender people violates both the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution," the lawsuit states.

Demonstrators hold signs during "Stand Up for Transgender Rights" event to show their support for transgender equality, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. February 25, 2017. |

NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter said in a statement that Trump's ban "has created a tidal wave of harms that have already been felt throughout our armed services."

"Transgender service members have been blindsided by this shift and are scrambling to deal with what it means for their futures and their families," Minter argued.

Last year, former President Barack Obama began a policy to gradually allow for transgendered individuals to openly serve in the military and for taxpayers to pay for their gender reassignment surgeries and related medical treatments.

While transgender military personnel were allowed to serve openly with the new policy, Obama had delayed implementation of allowing transgender people to enlist until July 1, 2017.

Top generals requested a delay in that policy, which was approved by Secretary of Defense James Mattis on June 30. The new deadline was set for Jan. 1, 2018.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Paul Selva told the Senate Armed Services Committee in July that the new measures could have "unintended consequences."

"Our decision to delay the accessions of transgender individuals into the services was largely based on a disagreement on the science of how mental healthcare and hormone therapy for transgender individuals would help solve their medical issues that are associated with gender dysphoria," Selva said.

In late July, Trump posted a series of statements on Twitter saying that he was reversing the Obama-era policy.

"After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow ... transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military," Trump tweeted.

"[Our military] cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

In response, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent a message to military leadership clarifying that Trump's Twitter posts do not change their current policies.

"I know there are questions about yesterday's announcement on the transgender policy by the president," Dunford said, as reported by Politico.

"There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance."

Until official means are made to change the policy, Dunford added, "we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

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