Democrats Ready to Fight President’s Transgender Military Ban

In July, President Donald Trump posted a series of tweets from his personal Twitter detailing a ban on transgender individuals in the U.S. Military. Those tweets blindsided military leaders, who had not been contacted with directives about the potential ban. General Joseph Dunford stated that the ban would not be implemented immediately, and that current transgender service members were secure in their positions.

A month later, President Trump followed through with his promise, issuing a presidential memorandum that would officially ban recruitment of transgender service members. The decree also bans the Department of Defense from allocating any of their budget to cover transgender medical procedures. The status of current transgender service members, however, remained uncertain. White House representatives continually asserted that the ban did not constitute discrimination and the president upheld his campaign promise to fight for LGBT rights.

The ban sparked two lawsuits against Donald Trump and members of his administrations on behalf of current and prospective transgender service members. The outcomes of these trials has yet to be determined.

On Aug. 29, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced a freeze on Trump’s transgender ban. Instead, he gathered a panel of experts within the Department of Defense and Homeland Security to advise on implementation methods. Mattis has until Feb. 1, 2018 to present President Trump with recommendations. Until that point, currently serving service members will be free to serve openly.

Democrats in the Senate hope to take action fighting the memorandum. They intend to utilize the National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that passes through Congress consistently. A proposed amendment would reverse the ban and protect current members. Other options included attempting to solidify the Obama era decision to allow transgender service member to serve openly into a law that the Executive Branch could not reverse.

The future of transgender service members is still uncertain for the foreseeable future, but several measures are being undertaken to reverse President Trump’s decree.

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Authored by: Hannah Addis

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