Trump’s Twitter ban on trans troops is official, but he can’t implement it yet. Here’s why.
President Donald Trump’s tweets banning transgender people from serving in the military have become policy. It’s officially really official. Like for real this time.
But don’t expect the ban to take immediate effect.
That’s right. It doesn’t matter if the ink’s dry and the policy’s been filed in the Federal Register. Four federal judges have already temporarily blocked the ban from taking effect.
That’s because several organizations, including GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), sued the U.S. government after Trump tapped out three tweets in July that hurled us into this controversy, blindsiding top military officials and activists.
In August, Trump declared March 23 would be the day his ban would be fully implemented. The ban states “persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria – including individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery – are disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances.”
It doesn’t outline what those limited circumstances are and gives the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Homeland Security discretion to devise other rules related to trans troops.
“This is exactly the discriminatory, categorical ban that four federal courts have already barred from going forward. This is just the sort of baseless attack on dedicated service members we have come to expect from this administration, and we will continue to fight this shameful ban vigorously in federal court,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), in a statement.
So, yes the ban’s official, but for now, it’s not enforceable and the Trump administration will have to fight in court to change that.
Before the Twitter mandate, U.S. military policy under Barack Obama stated that “transgender service members could serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military solely for being transgender individuals.” Thousands of transgender individuals currently serve in the military.
In a statement, the White House said permitting transgender people to serve “presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.” To that, activists have been saying “Fake news!” for some time.
“The Trump-Pence Administration continues to double down on its cruel and unconstitutional ban on transgender troops,” said Human Rights Commission National Press Secretary Sarah McBride in a statement. “From the first impulsive tweet, this policy has clearly been driven by an extreme anti-LGBTQ agenda rather than what is in the best interests of our troops and national security. Transgender people are enlisting and serving with distinction right now, and there is no legitimate reason to change that.”