Court Halts President Trump’s Military “Transgender” Directive

Oct 31, 2017

A federal district court in Washington D.C. issued a preliminary injunction on Monday that halts the implementation of two portions of President Donald Trump's August 25, 2017 memorandum regarding so-called “transgender” people serving in the United States military. 

In the August 2017 order, President Trump reversed policies put in place by the Obama administration in June 2016.  Those Obama administration policies themselves reversed long-standing military rules against “transgender” people serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Prior to June 2016, “transgender” people were not permitted to enlist in the military and members of the military who identified themselves as “transgender” were discharged.  Obama's Department of Defense announced in June 2016 that openly “transgender” people would be permitted to enlist in the military as of January 1, 2018 and those already in the military could not be discharged.  

On August 25, 2017, President Trump issued a memorandum, which said in part, “I am directing the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the U.S. Coast Guard, to return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016 until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating that policy and practice would not have the negative effects discussed above.”  The “negative effects” referred to by the President included effects on operational effectiveness, operational readiness and unit cohesion of the armed forces. 

A group of present and aspiring military enlistees who identify as “transgender” brought a lawsuit challenging President Trump's order on the grounds that it unconstitutionally discriminated against them in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution's guarantee of Equal Protection.

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