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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 10, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 32
Second federal court rules against Trans military ban
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Second federal court rules against Trans military ban

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A second US district court has ruled against Donald Trump's attempts to bar Transgender people from serving in the US military.

Trump first proposed blocking all Trans people from serving in the military in a series of tweets in July 2017.

He later endorsed an updated proposal by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to bar 'transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria' from serving in the military 'except under certain limited circumstances.'

In a ruling released on August 6, District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, in the District of Columbia, ruled that even the amended proposal is effectively a categorical ban on all Trans people serving in the military.

'By targeting proxies of transgender status, such as 'gender dysphoria' and 'gender transition,' and by requiring all service members to serve 'in their biological sex,' the judge said, the Trump administration is actually barring all Trans people from military service.

The judge refused a request from the Trump government to lift an injunction she placed on implementation of the original ban.

A US District Judge in Seattle ruled in June that the Trump administration could not go forward with its plan to ban Trans people from military service.

District Judge Marsha Pechman had already enjoined the administration from proceeding in an April ruling, and refused the administration's appeal in June.

Pechman compared Trump's policy to the historical exclusion of blacks from the military and the ban on mixed units when she rejected the ban in April.

In her June 15 ruling, Pechman wrote that 'the status quo shall remain 'steady as she goes,' and the preliminary injunction shall remain in full force and effect nationwide.'

Pechman added that 'because Transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class.

'Therefore, any attempt to exclude them from military service will be looked at with the highest level of care.'

The judge also said the government needed to demonstrate that the proposed ban 'was sincerely motivated by compelling interests, rather than by prejudice or stereotype, and that it is narrowly tailored to achieve those interests.'

Trans troops and activists welcomed the decision.

'Yet again, the Trump administration has tried to implement and expedite discrimination, and yet again, the court has said no,' Lambda Legal senior attorney Peter Renn said.

'You would think the administration would get tired of all the losing, and more importantly, would read the writing on the wall and abandon this discriminatory and harmful scheme to prevent brave and qualified transgender people from serving their country.'

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