On Wednesday August 9, two LGBTQ groups, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), filed the first lawsuit against President Trump’s proposed transgender military ban in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of five transgender women who are currently serving openly in the Air Force, the Coast Guard, and the Army, claims that the policy, which Trump announced via Twitter on July 26, violates their constitutional rights.
The lawsuit states that the policy, which would reverse an Obama-era decision to permit openly transgender troops, denies transgender servicemembers equal protection and due process under the law guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, and seeks an injunction “prohibiting the categorical exclusion of transgender people from military service.”
The tweet came as a surprise to the Pentagon and was released without any formal guidance. The tweet was also met with disapproval from 56 retired U.S. Generals and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, including swift condemnation from LGBTQ elected officials and leaders.
Openly trans former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Amanda Simpson condemned the tweet, noting it came on “the anniversary of President Truman fully integrating black Americans into the military. It’s abhorrent and disrespectful that President Trump would choose this anniversary to discriminate against our service members. He’s picked on the most vulnerable people to create a distraction, but he’s picked on the wrong people — he’s picked on service members.”
Lifting of the ban on trans military members began under the Obama administration, and was pushed forward by openly gay former Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, who also previously served on the board of Victory Institute.
Other than causing confusion within the Department of Defense and uncertainty about the future among transgender people currently serving, the effects of the policy are yet to be seen. In addition, no timeline for implementation has been released.