Trans activists are fighting Trump’s ban on military service–and they’re winning

By Jonathon Van Maren

In 2017, President Donald Trump released a statement on Twitter announcing that he would re-instate a ban on people diagnosed with gender dysphoria from military service, a reversal of an Obama policy that would have permitted transgender people to serve openly in the various branches of the military (even while pursuing medical “transition”). The following year, then–secretary of defense James Mattis rolled out the details of the policy, and a battle among various branches of government began, with the Supreme Court permitting the ban to go into effect in 2019 while the Democrats in Congress voted in June of the same year to prevent the Pentagon from using any funds to put the ban into effect.

The issue has ping-ponged its way through the courts, with injunctions by judges in three separate cases being eliminated by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the ban as well as a ruling by a federal judge in Maryland. The Trump administration has claimed that the path is now clear for the ban to be enforced, but federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has responded by stating that the injunction she issued in a 2017 ruling that the military must admit transgender applicants still stands.


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