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SCOTUS clears way for Trump's transgender military ban to go into effect



A still from the documentary film TransMilitary, which explores the struggles of transgender service members. - COURTESY TRANSMILITARY
  • Courtesy TransMilitary
  • A still from the documentary film TransMilitary, which explores the struggles of transgender service members.

Tuesday morning, Jan. 22, the U.S. Supreme Court made the very decision LGBTQ advocates have been dreading. Choosing to lift the injunctions set up by lower courts, the Court has allowed the Trump administration’s controversial ban on transgender military service members to go into effect immediately.

These injunctions have been in effect since the ban was first challenged in 2017, meaning transgender service members have been allowed to continue their work. But now the administration is free to widely discriminate against anyone who has experienced gender dysphoria or undergone any transition-related medical care. The Court did refuse to hear any of the cases related to the transgender military ban, for now leaving the final decision in the hands of lower courts. 
As expected, the Supreme Court vote was split, with conservative justices voting to lift the injunctions, and liberal justices voting to maintain them.

Quoted in a Jan. 22 report by The Washington Post, Lambda Legal Counsel Peter Renn called the decision “perplexing,” saying: “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.”

Daniel Ramos, the executive director of LGBTQ advocacy organization One Colorado, released a statement that echoes that sentiment. He adds: "Our veterans and military deserve better and we will continue to fight against this vicious, unconstitutional attack on dignity and equality. Transgender people are our family and friends, our neighbors and colleagues. They are veterans who have served with honor, and active duty service members who continue to sacrifice to protect our freedoms. No American, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be prohibited from the privilege and honor of serving their country."

A nonpartisan 2016 study by the RAND Corporation, which the Trump administration has essentially ignored, concluded that the effect of transgender service members on “military readiness” was negligible at most, and that the cost of gender-related medical care wouldn’t come close to how much the military shells out for, say, Viagra for its service members. But to believe the findings of this study would be to admit that this policy comes from a place of hate rather than a place of logic. Bigots seldom like to admit that they’re bigots.

This Supreme Court decision comes mere weeks after a D.C. Court of Appeals upheld the ban, claiming that it wasn’t a “blanket ban,” as some transgender people could still serve. Of course, those transgender people would have to live in the closet and subject themselves to constant misgendering by their peers and superiors, but it seems the court didn’t take the respect owed transgender people as human beings into consideration.

Transgender members already serving may be allowed to continue to do so, but as of now the military may refuse any new transgender recruits.

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