On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court voted to temporarily allow the Trump administration’s ban on most transgender individuals serving in the military to go into effect while the lawsuits challenging the ban move forward. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) strongly condemns the transgender military ban and such attacks against the transgender community.
The first public news of a transgender military ban came by way of the President’s social media in July 2017 and was later formalized by former Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The policy, released in 2018, confirmed that the military would no longer allow anyone who identifies with a gender different from the one assigned at birth to serve. Under the new policy, the military would also not pay for transgender affirming medical care. Several law suits have been filed challenging the discriminatory policy and in several cases, lower courts granted injunctions to block the policy, meaning that transgender recruits could join the armed forces, and those already enlisted could stay.
All injunctions from the lower courts have been overruled by the Supreme Court except for one, which will likely be overruled soon, allowing the ban to go into effect while the lawsuits proceed in the courts. Notably, the Supreme Court typically waits to address a case until a lower court issues a ruling. This week, the Court has circumvented this timeline and has issued this order while lower courts are deciding their positions.
Excluding transgender people from serving in the military is one more example of the persistent discrimination transgender people experience in employment, housing, healthcare and education. The current administration’s continued attacks on the transgender community, in particular, are unacceptable and contribute to a culture of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people and all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. NCAVP works to prevent and end all forms of violence against and within the LGBTQ community and considers this military ban to be a dehumanizing and violent act of discrimination.