The Supreme Court has allowed Trump’s proposed transgender military ban to go into effect temporarily. Here’s what that means for trans service members.
In a major blow to transgender rights, the Supreme Court has temporarily allowed President Donald Trump‘s ban on allowing trans and gender dysphoric individuals to enlist and serve in the military. Here’s everything you need to know about the newly implemented policy, and what it means for the LGBT community, as it gets debated in the lower courts:
1. The SCOTUS decision means the case now goes to the lower courts for debate. The Supreme Court’s January 22 decision on Trump’s trans ban comes nearly two years after it was first proposed. The justices didn’t rule on the merits of the case, but are allowing the temporary instatement because the policy has apparently been fine-tuned by the Pentagon and is no longer a “blanket ban.” The four liberal justices on the Supreme Court — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan — objected.
2. Here’s what the ban officially does: the ban blocks those with gender dysphoria from enlisting in the military, with limited exceptions; they can serve, but only if they do so under the sex they were assigned at birth. Trans and gender dysphoric individuals who are already serving in the military can continue to do so. The ban was first announced by the president in July 2017 on Twitter, then later officially released by then-Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. It has been called unconstitutional by critics and LGBT groups
3. Lambda Legal previously called the ban “perplexing.” Lambda Legal, which filed lawsuits on behalf of nine individuals and three organizations fighting the ban, said via a statement from counsel Peter Renn, “For more than 30 months, transgender troops have been serving our country openly with valor and distinction, but now the rug has been ripped out from under them, once again. We will redouble our efforts to send this discriminatory ban to the trash heap of history where it belongs.”
4. This is exactly what the Trump administration wanted. Government lawyers wanted the Supreme Court to take the case. They also wanted the ban to go into effect while the lower courts deal with the case. Done.
5. There are thousands of transgender individuals already enlisted. As of 2016, there were approximately 8980 transgender service members, according to government data. And during former president Barack Obama‘s administration, 937 service members who had gender dysphoria began or completed their transition.