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Lawsuit Filed In Trump Directive To Ban Transgenders From Military

11 August 2017
Lawsuit Filed In Trump Directive To Ban Transgenders From Military

Five transgender service members on Wednesday sued President Donald Trump over his plan to prohibit transgender troops.

He stated that the government "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military". One big news story today throws those tweets in a new light: On the same morning Trump suddenly tweeted out a change in transgender policy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was raiding the home of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The lawsuit filed by GLAD and the National Center Lesbian Rights isn't the only legal initiative planned against Trump's anti-trans military policy.

Five transgender service members serving on active duty sued President Donald Trump on Wednesday over his directive to ban them from the US military.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Paul Zukunft said he contacted all 13 members of the Coast Guard who identify as transgender to assure them that they have his support. They added that the White House has turned the President's tweets into "official guidance, approved by the White House counsel's office, to be communicated to the Department of Defense".

Trump stirred anger last month by announcing he would impose a ban on transgender soldiers serving openly in the military.

"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 contends.

The plaintiffs have not been publicly identified, so they can not be targeted in the purge - but they say due to the decision they face dramatic uncertainty about their futures including the potential loss of their professions, livelihoods, and post-military and retirement benefits.

Since then-President Barack Obama's administration repealed the ban on transgender service members in June 2016, surveys have estimated the number of transgender people in the 1.3 million-member military at anywhere from 1,320 to 15,000.

In the suit, they said they informed their commanding officers they are transgender and are undergoing medical treatment related to gender transition. "These servicemembers, like many others, have built their lives around their military service". "But now, I'm anxious about my family's future", she said.

The lawsuit asks that the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. declare the proposed ban unconstitutional and issue a ruling to stop any efforts to make Trump's proposal a reality.

"There is absolutely no reason except for bigotry to not allow these people to continue to serve..."

Though the brass has refused to implement any change without orders from a more usual channel than Twitter, the complaint names as defendants Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke.

Protesters gathering in front of the White House on July 26.

The Human Rights Campaign advocacy group estimates that more than 15,000 transgender personnel now are serving in the military.

Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD's transgender rights project, said in a statement the service of each of these transgender troops is valuable and the nation would be hurt by removing them.

Even if the administration has not yet transformed Trump's Twitter announcement into policy, it remained possible that it will do so by the time a judge has to decide whether the new lawsuit is ripe for adjudication or should be dismissed, experts said.