Press Release: 2019-04-14

Trump Administration Begins Enforcing Its Transgender Military Ban Amid Ongoing Legal Challenges

GLAD says, “That the Trump administration has pushed so hard to be allowed to implement this baseless, immoral and un-American ban is nothing short of shameful.”

NCLR says, “A country that turns its back on the very individuals who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend it has lost its moral bearings”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Department of Defense began enforcing the Trump administration’s transgender military ban today, as four legal cases challenging the discriminatory policy continue in the courts.

Attorneys from GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who represent active servicemembers, students in ROTC and military academy programs, and aspiring recruits in two cases, Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump, issued the following statements:

“That the Trump administration has pushed so hard to be allowed to implement this baseless, immoral and un-American ban is nothing short of shameful,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director. “The administration is deliberately misleading the American public and the courts by saying that because transgender people who suppress or hide their transgender status can serve, the policy is not a ban. But there is no doubt: just as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was a ban on gay and lesbian service members, this is a ban on transgender troops. As of today and until this policy is overturned, transgender people are barred from service, regardless of their qualifications and ability to meet military standards. We are already seeing the damage this discriminatory policy is wreaking, not only on transgender service members and their families, but on the military itself.”

“A country that turns its back on the very individuals who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend it has lost its moral bearings,” said Shannon Minter, NCLR Legal Director. “Starting today, any service member who comes out as transgender will face being discharged simply because of who they are.  And at a moment when every single branch of the military is struggling to meet its recruitment goals, they will be forced to turn away qualified individuals who want nothing more than to contribute their talents, their skills, and if necessary their lives to serve. As many senior military officials have acknowledged, there is no justification for this ban, which was imposed on the military by President Trump for political, not military, reasons. As we continue to fight this discriminatory policy in the courts, we also call on Congress to do its part to put an end to it as quickly as possible.”

NCLR and GLAD have been at the center of the legal fight challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban since filing Doe v. Trump, the first of four cases filed against the ban, on August 9, 2017.

Recent polls from Reuters and Quinnipiac have shown that 60% or more of Americans agree that transgender individuals who meet military standards should be able to serve openly.

For more information on the legal timeline and ongoing developments in the legal cases challenging the ban, please visit notransmilitaryban.org.