TLDEF Applauds Federal Court Blocking Enforcement of Trump Admin’s Transgender Military Ban

New York, NY- Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund applauds news that a federal court in the District of Columbia has blocked enforcement of the Trump Administration’s transgender military ban. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued a preliminary injunction today.

Earlier this month TLDEF filed an amicus or “friend of the court” brief with the federal court in Washington, D.C. in support of the lawsuit against the ban, Doe v. Trump, brought by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) on behalf of transgender troops. Joining the brief, in addition to TLDEF, were 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 Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, in conjunction with the groups, the brief urged 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 advised the Court that the prejudice behind the ban is apparent from its categorical nature, as well as the circumstances of its announcement. The order issued today requires the United States to return to the prior policy allowing trans people to serve in the military, and to allow trans people to start enlisting beginning January 1, 2018.

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss

“We commend this decision to grant the preliminary injunction stopping this cruel and costly ban. Congratulations to the plaintiffs and to the legal team headed by NCLR and GLAD. We are pleased to have contributed by joining in an amicus brief in this case. As TLDEF and our partners argued:

‘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.’

Studies by our own military show that there is no loss of unit cohesion or fighting readiness from permitting transgender people to serve, and the cost is minimal. In fact, the cost of discharging so many qualified troops would approach $1 billion. 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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