ACLU Sues Trump Administration Over Transgender Military Ban

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The lawsuit argues the president's directive "is based on uninformed speculation, myths and stereotypes, moral disapproval and a bare desire to harm this already vulnerable group."

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration following the president's directive to ban transgender troops from enlisting in the military.

Five current transgender military members filed the suit, which argues that that the ban "violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process by singling out transgender individuals for unequal and discriminatory treatment."

It also argues that the ban "discriminates based on sex and transgender status and that the ban is based on uninformed speculation, myths and stereotypes, moral disapproval and a bare desire to harm this already vulnerable group."

Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Senior Airman John Doe, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert and Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker are the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. They are represented by the ACLU, the ACLU of Maryland and Covington & Burling LLP.

"Each and every claim made by the President Trump to justify this ban can be easily debunked by the conclusions drawn from the Department of Defense’s own review process," said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU'S LGBT & HIV project. "Allowing men and women who are transgender to serve openly and providing them with necessary health care does nothing to harm military readiness or unit cohesion. Men and women who are transgender with the courage and capacity to serve deserve more from their commander in chief.”

In July, Trump tweeted that the U.S. government will "not accept or allow" transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity." His administration has since worked with the Defense department to turn his tweets into directives. Last Friday, Trump directed the Pentagon to declare an indefinite ban on transgender military recruits. He has left it to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to look into what will happen with the transgender troops who have already been serving. Trump also directed Mattis to halt the use of federal funds to pay for sexual reassignment surgeries and medications, except for cases where a soldier has already started treatment and further treatment is deemed necessary.

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