WASHINGTON, D.C.Today marks one year since President Trump tweeted that the U.S. Government would not allow transgender individuals "to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military." Two weeks later, NCLR and GLAD filed the first lawsuit to stop Trump's ban and then were first to secure a nationwide preliminary injunction halting the ban while it is being heard by the court. To date, four lawsuits have now been filed against Trump's ban, each respectively securing a preliminary injunction. While this fight continues, there are more than 9,000 currently serving transgender troops, and transgender Americans are openly seeking to enlist.
National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) Legal Director Shannon Minter and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders ( GLAD ) Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi, two transgender attorneys at the center of the fight to stop Trump's ban, issued the following joint statement in response:
"One year ago, President Trump launched an attack on his own troops. No other military policy excludes a class of persons from enlisting or serving. The Trump-Pence ban discriminates against people based on who they arenot whether they can do the job.
"One of our plaintiffs, Jane Doe 3, served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and said she was having breakfast after completing her morning PT [physical training] when she first saw news coverage of Trump's tweets. She remembered taking a sip of coffee and wondering if at that exact moment her commander was signing her separation paperwork. Her life and career had been turned upside down in an instant.
"This reckless, impulsive ban wreaked havoc on the lives and families of the more than 9,000 currently serving trans troops. During the course of litigation, discovery has confirmed that the ban took even the most senior military leaders by surprise. It contradicts military research and experts and undermines our nation's military readiness.
"So far, this ban has failed in court at every level. But the Trump administration continues to dig in its heels, and so this fight must continue on behalf of our brave trans troops and those transgender Americans willing to sacrifice everything to serve."
For more information, go to notransmilitaryban.org/ .
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org
Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation. www.GLAD.org