Wednesday morning the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed a lawsuit challenging Donald Trump’s proposed transgender military ban.
Lawyers filed Doe v. Trump in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of five transgender service personnel. Between them, they have nearly 60 years of service in the Air Force, Coast Guard, and Army.
Shannon Minter, a transgender legal expert and NCLR Legal Director, stated: ‘Trump’s directive to exclude transgender people from military service has created a tidal wave of harms that have already been felt throughout our armed services. Transgender service members have been blindsided by this shift and are scrambling to deal with what it means for their futures and their families.’
GLAD and NCLR aim to stop a ban before it can happen
The suit details a brief history of transgender people serving in the military. This includes the June 2016 decision by the Department of Defense allowing them to serve openly.
Lawyers for the organizations are arguing a possible ban violates the Fifth Amendment. More specifically, the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses.
The suit also says: ‘Execution of the President’s directive will result in an end to service by openly transgender service members and has already resulted in immediate, concrete injury to Plaintiffs
by unsettling and destabilizing plaintiffs’ reasonable expectation of continued service.’
Furthermore, the lawsuit brings up the matter of turning Trump’s tweets into policy.
It explains how the proposed policy ‘made without consulting the Joint Chiefs of Staff, upset the reasonable expectations of Plaintiffs and thousands of other transgender servicemembers and the men and women with whom they serve and fight’. It continues by describing how White House counsel approved and turned the tweets into official guidance.
Ultimately, GLAD and NCLR’s lawsuit aims to put a ‘declaratory and permanent’ stop to a potential ban.
‘We can’t afford to lose a single one of them’
‘The Commander in Chief has said that transgender service members — people who have served our nation with honor and distinction — are no longer welcome to serve,’ said Jennifer Levi, Director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project in a press release. ‘This unjustifiable reversal of policy is devastating to these soldiers and harmful to our country. These plaintiffs put their lives on the line every day for all of us. We can’t afford to lose a single one of them.’
One of the plaintiffs discussed the relief and support that came with being able to openly serve last year. ‘My experience has been positive and I am prouder than ever to continue to serve. I am married and have three children, and the military has been my life,’ they explained. ‘But now, I’m worried about my family’s future.’
The latest update regarding the potential ban was a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying there would be no policy change until further consideration.
The entirety of the suit can be seen here.