TLDEF Files Brief Supporting Transgender Servicemembers’ Challenge to Trump Military Ban

TLDEF Files Brief in Support of Transgender Servicemembers Challenging Trump Administration’s Military Ban

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 1.18.57 PMNew York, NY- Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund has filed an amicus or “friend of the court” brief with the United States federal court in Washington, D.C. in support of transgender troops who are challenging the ban on open transgender military service. Last July, President Trump announced the ban via Twitter.

The brief supports a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s transgender military ban, brought by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)  and GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). Joining the brief, in addition to TLDEF, are the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, TGI Network of Rhode Island, Transgender Allies Group, TransOhio, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico and Southern Arizona Gender Alliance.

Written by the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, in conjunction with the groups, the brief urges the Court to stop the ban by granting a preliminary injunction because there is a strong likelihood that the transgender servicemembers will prevail at trial. It advises the court that the prejudice behind the ban is apparent from its categorical nature, as well as the circumstances of its announcement:

“The discriminatory motivation for the ban is shown by the ban itself, which excludes an entire group of people from serving their country simply because of who they are. The circumstances surrounding the announcement of the ban further confirm the animus behind it, including secretive lobbying by anti-LGBT hate groups, congressional demands that the President act against transgender service members as quid pro quo for support of the President’s promised border wall, the profoundly unusual Twitter announcement, and the unfounded and pretextual justifications offered for the ban. And, tellingly, it is part of an ongoing pattern of hostility toward transgender Americans by the Administration.”

The brief goes on to argue that the reasons offered for the ban — loss of unit cohesion, impairment of fighting readiness and high cost of medical care, are clearly false and merely an excuse for blatant discrimination.

“Studies by our own military show that there is no loss of unit cohesion or fighting readiness, and the cost is minimal. In fact, the cost of discharging so many qualified troops would approach $1 billion,” said TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss. “We urge the Court to grant the preliminary injunction stopping this cruel and costly ban. It is time to end the attack on our brave transgender fighting forces once and for all and preserve their right to continue serving our nation with honor and distinction.”

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