Things are looking grim for President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender service members. A second federal judge has overturned the trans military ban, referencing “harmful consequences” that service members are already suffering from due to its original announcement and execution.
Ruling on a Maryland lawsuit filed in August, U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis argued that the Trump administration cannot deny gender confirmation surgery funding to transgender service members. Furthermore, he concluded the ban’s initial steps already prove that the Trump administration would negatively impact trans people serving in the military through “the cancellation and postponements of surgeries, the stigma of being set apart as inherently unfit,” as well as “the inability to move forward with long-term medical plans,” among other obstacles impacting trans service members’ career advancements, the Washington Post reports.
Just last week, the Pentagon approved and funded its first gender confirmation surgery for a service member.
In other words, it’s sure to be a lengthy battle for the Trump administration if they wish to reinstate the ban. Judge Garbis went on to agree that the ban violates equal-protection guarantees within the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which resonates with previous claims made in court. He also went on to criticize President Trump’s tweets announcing the ban, which he felt “did not emerge from a policy review.”
“A capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy changes,” Garbis said in his ruling, according to the Post.
In an official statement obtained by the Daily Dot, National Center for Transgender Equality executive director Mara Keisling called on President Trump to overturn the White House’s policy, claiming the ban comes “without merit or any legitimate government interest.”
“There are very real threats to our democracy, our nation, and its citizens, but transgender people are not among these threats,” Keisling said. “Despite discrimination and violence endured by many transgender people, all trans people want is the same thing every person wants, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That thousands put on their uniforms each day, and are willing to fight for those freedoms is positive proof.”
Garbis’ ruling follows another by a federal judge blocking the trans military ban. Last month, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly argued that the Trump administration will have to “revert to the status quo” before the president signed the executive order putting the ban into motion.
The victories also coincide with the upcoming documentary TransMilitary, which follows four transgender troops’ everyday experiences while serving in the U.S. military. GLAAD’s Media Institute recently vowed to support the film with a grant that will help promote the film, which is based off a New York Times documentary called Transgender, at War and in Love, released in 2015 by TransMilitary’s directors.
“With an administration fixated on removing rights from trans Americans and banning them from military service, it is more important than ever to amplify the experiences of trans service members,” GLAAD vice president of programs Zeke Stokes said, Jezebel reports. “The powerful stories in TransMilitary are vital to fighting against Trump’s proposed military ban and ensuring full equality for all service members, who wish to do nothing more than serve the country they love and keep their commitments to the military.”