WASHINGTON – A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Monday blocked the enforcement of several key elements of President Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender people serving in the US military, originally scheduled to take effect early next year.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly issued her ruling on the legal challenge to the ban presented by a group of transgender soldiers on active duty who denounced Trump’s proposed ban as unconstitutional.
In her ruling, the judge said that the plaintiffs “have established that they will be injured by these directives, due both to the inherent inequality they impose, and the risk of discharge and denial of accession that they engender. “
In August, the president issued an executive order instructing the Pentagon to prohibit the enlistment of transsexuals, as well as to discharge transsexuals already serving in the Army.
The memo issued by the White House established that sex change operations for military personnel will be prohibited starting on March 22, 2018, with the exception of those that are deemed “necessary” for the health of the individual.
Kollar-Kotelly said that some of the plaintiffs had served in the US military for decades in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan and fear that the directives announced by the president would harm their families and careers.
She said that the Constitution is on the side of the plaintiffs, given that the memo sets forth discrimination based on gender.
By partially granting the preliminary injunction – pending appeal – to the plaintiffs’ requests, the judge said that the net result of her ruling was to “revert to the status quo” that existed before Trump’s Aug. 25 memo.
However, the court rejected the portion of the lawsuit regarding a ban on the use of public resources for sex change operations, saying that none of the plaintiffs had been able to establish a real probability that they would be affected by that prohibition.
Kollar-Kotelly also said that the reasons for Trump’s ban – which he initially announced in on July 26 on Twitter – “do not appear to be supported by any facts.”
“After Consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” the president wrote in one July 26 tweet.
The number of transsexuals serving in the Armed Forces in 2016 fluctuated between 1,300 and 6,600 out of a total of 1.3 million troops, according to a study undertaken by the Pentagon.