Transgender military ban

Trump implements discriminatory policy.

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On April 12, 2019, President Donald J. Trump returned the United States military to its “don’t ask, don’t tell” era with an anti-transgender law. This new policy reverses the previous administration’s decision to allow transgender individuals to serve openly and receive medical benefits. According to the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, individuals serving in the U.S. military can still identify as transgender, but now they are required to “use the uniforms, pronouns, and sleeping and bathroom facilities for their biological sex.” 

During a New York Times interview, a high-ranking official in the defense department, who refused to be named, said that this new law is “not a ban. Any service member with a medical condition, such as gender dysphoria, has a potential negative impact on force readiness and should be evaluated.” 

The official claimed that transgender individuals can still serve in the military “so long as they adhere to the standards of their biological sex.”

This claim was quickly countered with a challenge from Shannon Minter, a lawyer who represents transgender service members. Minter said that “of course it’s a ban…[it] prevents trans people from serving and will purge the military of transgender service members.”

In another interview conducted by The Guardian, active duty captain in the U.S. Army Kara Corcoran spoke about the mental and physical relief of being open about her gender identity. 

Corcoran said, “I cannot explain to you how much more mentally sound and even more physically fit I am today than I was a year ago.” She is concerned that troops who have not yet come out as transgender will suffer mental and physical problems. 

In the same article by The Guardian, Jillian Scheer, a postdoctoral research fellow at Yale University, said that President Trump’s announcement of this rule further reinforces societal stigmas that transgender individuals are different and should be treated as such. This creates issues with discrimination and equal treatment of service members. 

After President Trump’s announcement of this law, several court challenges have arisen. Many LGBTQ organisations are arguing this is a violation of transgender rights of equal protection under the law and freedom of expression. 

Lead attorney of Lambda Legal Peter Renn told The Guardian that “[w]hen the policy is examined closely[,] there is no justification that could possibly explain what the government is doing.”

Since his inauguration, President Trump and his cabinet have been on the road to limit the rights of the LGBTQ community. For more information about rules and laws that have been placed by the current administration that are harmful to the LGBTQ community, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality website: https://transequality.org/the-discrimination-administration.

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