A federal appeals court decided in favor of the Trump administration’s proposed restrictions on trans people serving in the military, ruling that it is not a “blanket ban.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order Friday saying that, despite lower court rulings, President Trump can, in fact, ban trans people from serving in the military, The Washington Post reports. The order says that “the District Court [that placed the injunction] made an erroneous finding that the [Trump administration’s policy] was the equivalent of a blanket ban on transgender service” because the proposal would only restrict trans people who are actively looking to transition or identify with a gender that isn’t the one they were assigned at birth and not every trans person transitions, medically or socially.
Advocates for trans service members strongly disagree with the court’s ruling that the Trump administration’s proposed restrictions on trans people serving doesn’t constitute a ban. The policy change began with a tweet by President Trump in July 2017, which was swiftly followed by several lawsuits challenging the change. It was later modified by former Defense Sec. Jim Mattis in March 2018 following pushback so that only trans people who have a “history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria” or are seeking “substantial medical treatment” like hormones and surgery would be banned.
“[The decision is] based on the absurd idea that forcing transgender people to suppress who they are in order to serve is not a ban,” Jennifer Levi, the Director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project, told the Post. “It ignores the reality of transgender people’s lives, with devastating consequences, and rests on a complete failure to understand who transgender people are.”
The appeals court’s decision will not affect trans service members in any immediate capacity, the Post notes. While the court has ruled that the proposed restrictions may stand, the administration cannot implement these restrictions on account of three prior decisions from federal judges.