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Federal judge: U.S. military must accept trans recruits in January
Photo via Ted Eytan/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
Two federal judges have already blocked President Donald Trump from instituting his transgender military ban, which would have barred trans people from openly serving the armed services. And now, a federal judge has confirmed that blocking the ban also means openly trans people will be able to enlist in the military in January.
The clarification came about after the Trump administration began appealing U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s October injunction blocking the ban. After the Justice Department reached out to Kollar-Kotelly, the judge clarified that the U.S. military must begin accepting openly transgender troops by January.
“The Court explained that the effect of its Order was to revert to the status quo with regard to accession and retention that existed before the issuance of the Presidential Memorandum,” she wrote in her ruling, according to a court order obtained by BuzzFeed News. “Those policies allowed for the accession of transgender individuals into the military beginning on January 1, 2018.”
Originally, under the Obama administration, the U.S. military was set to enlist openly transgender recruits by July 1. However, the Pentagon pushed off enlistment by six months, putting the date at Jan. 1, citing a need for a “waiting period” to develop policies. Shortly after, President Trump tweeted his sweeping military ban.
Update 1:46pm, Dec. 11: The Trump administration lost its appeal on Monday to delay enlisting trans troops. Starting Jan. 1, the military must admit transgender service members.
According to the Washington Post, Judge Kolla-Kotelly said the administration’s request for more time was based on “vague claims,” writing that “the Court is not persuaded that Defendants will be irreparably injured” by meeting the deadline.
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.