In late July, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce a ban on all transgender personnel in the U.S. military. While his plan has yet to be implemented, it has since been met with protests and resistance, and now five transgender military personnel have filed a federal lawsuit to block it from becoming official policy.
The lawsuit—against President Trump, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine C. Duke, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and key members of the Pentagon—is a “constitutional and equitable challenge” to the transgender ban, led by five Jane Doe service members who “collectively have served this nation for decades in various branches of the United States military,” it reads.
The lawsuit argues that President Trump’s transgender ban lacks lawful federal justification and is discriminatory on sex and transgender status, therefore violating Equal Protection under the Due Process Clause within the Fifth Amendment.
“My experience has been positive and I am prouder than ever to continue to serve. I am married and have three children, and the military has been my life. But now, I’m worried about my family’s future,” one plaintiff told BBC News.
The lawsuit was filed through the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. For the time being, other LGBTQ rights groups are prepping lawsuits, but are waiting until the transgender military ban becomes official policy. If that happens, Lambda Legal, Outserve, and the American Civil Liberties Union may open their own lawsuits against the Trump administration.
In the meantime, NCLR argues trans military personnel are already being impacted by the proposed ban, and therefore a lawsuit is in order.
“It is critical to act now because the harms are happening now,” NCLR legal director Shannon Minter told the New York Times. “These service members deserve to know where they stand.”