The Trump administration will not begin implementing its ban on trans people serving in the military next month, after all. In a decision issued Tuesday, a D.C. District Court judge has ruled that the Pentagon does not have the authority to do so yet, BuzzFeed News reports.
“Defendants were incorrect in claiming that there was no longer an impediment,” said Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in her decision. “Defendants remain bound by this Court’s preliminary injunction to maintain the status quo.”
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The Trump administration’s policy banning most trans people from serving in the military will go into effect next month.
David Norquist of the U.S. Department of Defense signed a memo Tuesday night that will let the Pentagon enforce its restrictions on trans service members beginning April 12, Reuters reports. Though not an outright ban, the policy prohibits trans people who have transitioned from serving as well as those who might transition in the future, effectively banning most trans people from military service.
Lawmakers and advocates have condemned the decision, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who called it a “bigoted, disgusting ban” in a statement to Reuters. Harper Jean Tobin, the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Director of Policy, called the policy “severe” and regressive.
"Throughout our nation’s history, we have seen arbitrary barriers in our military replaced with inclusion and equal standards," Tobin said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. "This is the first time in American history such a step forward has been reversed, and it is a severe blow to the military and to the nation’s values."
The Pentagon’s new rules regarding trans people’s service reverse a 2016 policy implemented by former President Barack Obama, which let trans people serve openly and receive military-funded medical care to aid in transition.
President Donald Trump, who first proposed these restrictions on Twitter in 2017, has claimed that such care is costly and financially burdensome, but this is simply not true. In actuality, medical and psychological treatment for trans service members has only cost the government $8 million since Obama’s 2016 went into effect, USA Today reports, while the Pentagon spends $50 billion on health care annually.