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Court partly blocks Trump ban on transgender troops in U.S. military

31 October 2017

In what is being hailed as a victory for the transgender community, a federal judge on Monday blocked part of President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military.

Kollar-Kotelly noted that, before issuing the directive, Trump had tweeted that "the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military". Trump had pointed to the health benefits cost of trans service members as a reason for the ban, but that was slammed hard by opponents as the military spends five times more on Viagra than gender-confirmation surgery.

In a 76-page memo accompanying the ruling, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their case arguing the transgender ban violates their Fifth Amendment right to due process.

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He gave one year for the Pentagon to study how to allow transgender individuals to join the military - referred to as accession.

The judge - who was named to the court by President Bill Clinton - noted in her ruling that the changes in transgender policy were "not genuinely based on legitimate concerns regarding military effectiveness or budget constraints, but are instead driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally". He followed with an August memo directing the Pentagon to extend indefinitely a ban on transgender individuals joining the military, and gave Defense Secretary Jim Mattis six months to come up with a policy on "how to address" those who are now serving.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) sued in August on behalf of six unnamed service members and two recruits. Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Therefore, she said, the court does not have jurisdiction to enjoin the aspect of Trump's policy.

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She said that other factors, including "the unusual circumstances surrounding the president's announcement" of the ban, weighed in her decision.

But the plaintiffs did not establish that they would by harmed by the ban on funds for gender reassignment surgery, Kollar-Kotelly ruled.

The government could decide to appeal the preliminary injunction issued by the court, which prohibits the military from enforcing the ban.

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Several politicians also supported the court's decision on Twitter.

Court partly blocks Trump ban on transgender troops in U.S. military