Donald Trump’s attempted ban on trans people serving in the military has been partially blocked.
US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly overruled a presidential memo that was issued by Trump earlier this year, which sought to reverse an Obama-era policy that allowed trans people to serve openly in the military.
Trump made the announcement of the ban in a series of tweets from July, in which he stated: “Our military cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
But now, thanks to the judge’s decision, the US military will return to the status quo, allowing trans individuals to join the military and existing ones to continue to serve openly.
Kollar-Kottelly said Trump’s motives for the ban are “not genuinely based on legitimate concerns regarding military effectiveness or budget constraints, but are instead driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally”.
She also rubbished Trump’s excuses that trans people are ‘disruptive’ to the military or that they are too costly to keep, arguing that his reasons “do not appear to be supported by any facts”.
The decision came in response to a lawsuit by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, one of many filed on behalf of trans soldiers in the aftermath of Trump’s proposed ban.
“This is a complete victory for our plaintiffs and all transgender service members, who are now once again able to serve on equal terms and without the threat of being discharged,” said the organisations’s legal director, Shannon Minter.
“We are grateful to the court for issuing such a clear, powerful decision recognising that there is no legitimate reason for treating qualified transgender service members differently than others”.
While trans people will be allowed to serve in the military now, the proposed ban on federal funds being used for gender confirmation surgery will be allowed to go ahead.
Sarah Warbelow, the Human Rights Campaign’s legal director, said: “Today’s preliminary injunction is an important step in the ongoing efforts to protect transgender service members from the dangerous and discriminatory policies of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
“Donald Trump’s erratic tweets and half-baked orders disrespect the bravery of the countless transgender people who have fought, and in many cases died, for their country.
“The immediate harm to our national defense and to the thousands of transgender people serving and wishing to serve their country must be stopped — and we are grateful that a federal judge has blocked this administration from discharging any qualified individuals because of their gender identity while these cases continue to make their way through the courts.”