TLDEF Files Brief in Support of Equality California's Challenge to the Transgender Military Ban

TLDEF Files Brief in Support of Equality California’s Challenge to the                                                     Transgender Military Ban

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund has filed an amicus or “friend of the court” brief  with the United States District Court for the Central District of California, supporting a lawsuit against the transgender military ban, brought by Equality California and seven transgender individuals affected by it. The suit, Stockman v. Trump, challenges “President Trump’s Aug. 25 directive prohibiting transgender people from joining the military and banning military healthcare plans from providing vital services to transgender servicemembers.”

Joining the amicus brief, in addition to TLDEF, are the Transgender American Veterans Association, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, the TGI Network of Rhode Island, the Transgender Allies Group, the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, TransOhio, and the Trans Youth Equality Foundation.

Written by the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, in conjunction with the groups, the brief urges the Court to stop the ban by granting a preliminary injunction because there is a strong likelihood that the transgender servicemembers will prevail at trial. It advises the court that the prejudice behind the ban is apparent from its categorical nature, as well as the circumstances of its announcement:

“The discriminatory motivation for the ban is shown by the ban itself, which excludes an entire group of people from serving their country simply because of who they are. The circumstances surrounding the announcement of the ban further confirm the animus behind it, including secret lobbying by anti-LGBT hate groups, congressional demands that the President act against transgender service members as quid pro quo for support of the President’s promised border wall, the profoundly unusual Twitter announcement, and the unfounded and pretextual justifications offered for the ban. And, tellingly, the ban is part of an ongoing pattern of hostility toward transgender Americans by the Administration.”

The brief also demonstrates that the Trump Administration’s supposed reasons for the ban—loss of unit cohesion, impairment of fighting readiness and high cost of medical care—are clearly false and merely used as excuses for blatant discrimination.

“Studies by our own military show that allowing open transgender military service does not diminish unit cohesion or fighting readiness, and the cost of trans medical care is minimal. By contrast, the price tag for discharging highly trained and qualified troops would approach $1 billion,” said TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss. “We urge the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to grant the preliminary injunction stopping this pernicious and costly ban. We must end the attack on our brave transgender troops who are serving our nation with distinction.”

In October TLDEF joined several trans rights organizations in an amicus brief that supported another challenge to the transgender military ban brought by National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). A federal court in the District of Columbia recently blocked enforcement of the ban as that case, Doe v. Trump, proceeds.