2018-NOV to 2019-APR and 2021-FEB:
Transgender Persons in Military:

Anti-Trump Light Show.
Trump loses at District Court
level, asks to bypass Courts of
Appeal and go directly to the
U.S. Supreme Court.
High Court activates ban.
House Subcommittee holds hearing
Federal judge enables transgender ban.
Costs of medical treatment.
Public opinion on the ban.

2021-FEB: President Biden lifts military ban.

Transgender symbol10

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Part 11

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2018-NOV-19: Transgender group gave President Trump their message in a direct way:

During Transgender Awareness Week, the National Center for Transgender Equality projected a series of messages on the front wall of one of his hotels. One message read: "Transgender People #WontBeErased." It was projected above the front door of Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Mara Keisling, the NCTE's executive director, said:

"So we’re here today to make a statement about visibility. A statement to let anybody know that when they attack us, we fight back. Every time. Every time they attack us, we get stronger, they get weaker. We will always fight back, and we will always win."

Later postings on the hotel facade were: "“Transgender Immigrants #WontBeErased," and "Transgender People of Color #WontBeErased."

She also said:

"We have always known our strongest tool in the fight against prejudice is the diversity and visibility of transgender people across the country, who will never be erased by this or any administration. As we end Transgender Awareness Week, we knew we needed to show that diversity where this President cannot ignore it. After all, he does not just attack us as transgender people. He also attacks us as immigrants, as students, as people of color, as survivors of sexual violence, and as members of the Armed Forces.

We are determined to push against each one of these assaults on our rights and defend our right to live as transgender people and every identity we carry with us." 5

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2018-NOV-23: President Trump asked the High Court to bypass Federal Courts of Appeals on Military Transgender cases:

President Trump's bans on transgender persons enlisting in the Armed Forces has been challenged in multiple Federal Trial Courts. It has been found to be unconstitutional by two judges:

  • Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Her decision has been appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2018-DEC.

  • Former Senior Judge Marvin Garbis, of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland who retired in mid-2018.

It has also been found unconstitutional at a District Court in California and has been appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A hearing was held by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but the judges have not yet issued their ruling. 6 The administration has suffered three losses and zero wins.

The usual next step would be for the Trump Administration to wait for the decision by one or more Courts of Appeals. That decision could then be appealed by the loser to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has the option of accepting or rejecting the appeal. However, the Administration appears to consider the matter so seriously and urgent that they have taken the unusual step of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to bypass the Court(s) of Appeal and take up the case immediately. In order to obtain a ruling by the middle of 2019, the High Court would probably have to hold hearings on the case in 2018-DEC. 7 Bypassing a Court of Appeal is an unusual step, but sometimes is taken in cases of extreme emergency.

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2019-JAN-22: U.S. Supreme Court delivers a potentially devastating blow to transgender members of the military:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they will not accept any of the appeals that challenge the Trump Administration's ban on transgender troops. Further, they will allow the Administration's plan to be implemented. Sarah McBride of the Human Rights Campaign sent a circular email to its mailing list stating:

"Simply put: The administration can now begin kicking transgender troops out of the military and denying trans people the opportunity to enlist … even as lawsuits like ours continue to play out."

Lambda Legal counsel Peter Renn, said:

"The Supreme Court’s decisions today are perplexing to say the least: on the one hand denying the Trump administration’s premature request for review of lower court rulings before appellate courts have ruled and rebuffing the administration’s attempt to skirt established rules; and yet on the other allowing the administration to begin to discriminate, at least for now, as the litigation plays out." 7

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2019-FEB-27: House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel holds hearing on the Transgender ban:

The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel held a hearing to review President Trump's transgender ban.

James N Stewart, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, reviewed the administrations policy. He said that it is not a ban; it does not target transgender persons; it only impacts persons who present with gender dysphoria.

This term is obsolete. It was once used in the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV manual published in 1952. It described a subset of transgender persons who suffer from clinically "significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning." It has been replaced in the current issue (DSM-V) with the term "Gender Incongruence"which simply means that the person identifies as a gender different from their birth-identified sex. No distress or disability is implied or required.

He later blew his statement out of the water when he was asked whether a person who experiences gender incongruence and was not experiencing gender dysphoria could enlist. He said that they would be banned.

Subcommittee member Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) appeared sympathetic to allowing transgender persons to serve in the military, However, only Democratic members of the subcommittee asked questions. The latter were antagonistic towards Stewart's claims. Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) observed that it costs the military three times as much to train a single pilot as it does to provide a year’s worth of transition-related medical services across the entire military! Other Democrats noted that every major medical organization in the U.S. has rejected the ban.

Shannon Minter, the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) later issued a statement saying:

"As today’s testimony made clear, there is no question that this is a discriminatory ban on transgender people who are willing and able to serve their country,"

Democratic representatives in the House have proposed legislation to reverse the ban, but it is uncertain whether it would be passed by the Senate.

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2019-MAR-07: Federal Judge Lifts Injunction on Transgender Troop Ban:

Michael Foust, writing for Christian Headlines, said:

"A federal judge Thursday lifted an injunction against the Trump administration’s ban on most transgender troops, moving the policy one step closer to taking effect.

The Supreme Court in January halted injunctions from two lower courts against the policy. Thursday’s action came from a third court that still had an injunction in place. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III said he was 'bound by the Supreme Court’s decision' from January." 11

Judge Russell was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

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2019-FEB-27: Costs associated with medical treatment of transgender troops in the U.S. Military for gender dysphoria:

"Gender Dysphoria" (GD) is the distress a person feels due to a mismatch between the gender that they were assigned at birth and their current gender identity as they perceive it to be. 14 For example, a "MTF" (male to female) transgender person was registered as male at the time of their birth but now identifies as female. Some transgender persons now identify as female, male, neither gender, an intermediate gender, or as alternating genders.

Tom Vanden Brook, writing for USA TODAY said that:

  • 1,071 transgender troops, both active and reserve, have incurred medical costs since 2016 related to their gender dysphoria.

  • The total medical costs associated with their transgender identity is less than $8 million dollars a year. 12

This means that:

  • Since the total number of military service members is about 2.1 million, allowing the presence of transgender troops in the military adds less than $4.00 per transgender service member yearly to the total military budget.

  • The total 2019 Defense Budget is almost $700 billion. So the additional costs of transgender persons in the military is about 0.001% of the total military budget. 13

If transgender persons were banned from the military, then existing transgender service members would probably go into hiding and fear being discovered. Their quality of work would suffer significantly.

In the past, African Americans, women, gays, and lesbians have been very successfully integrated into the military. The militaries of many other countries have done the same. The U.S. military has led the rest of the country in integration of women and minorities. By allowing transgender persons to join, the military will reflect more closely the diversity of race, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity found in the U.S. population as a whole. Allowing transgender persons will legitimize their presence in civil society and accelerate their acceptance by the general population.

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2019-MAR-12: Pentagon's new policy on transgender troops signed:

Effective APR-12, the new policy will barr persons from the military who need treatment for gender dysphoria. Service members who have been treated for gender dysphoria in the past will be allowed to continue to serve.

Rep. Jackie Speier, (D-CA), chairperson of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel criticized the policy as vicious and demeaning. She promised to fight its implementation. She issued a statement saying:

"I would like to know what it is that the President is so afraid of. Transgender troops have served for decades and carried out multiple deployments, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, to protect our country and freedoms. These tough, brave service members have never used bone spurs as an excuse to dodge their duty and service to our country. We owe them our gratitude, not government-sanctioned discrimination."

The reference to "bone spurs" relates to President Trump's successful attempt to avoid being drafted during the VIetnam War.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) described Trump's ban as "bigoted" and "disgusting." She promised that the House would:

"... continue to fight this discriminatory action, which has no place in our country. ... The President’s years-long insistence on his cowardly ban makes clear that prejudice, not patriotism, guides his decisions. If implemented, this hateful policy would undermine our military readiness and betray our core American values. No one with the strength and bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are." 15

The Department of Defense's new policy on transgender troops can go into effect any time after 2019-APR-12. Explanations of the new policy by the Department 16 and by USA Today 15 are somewhat ambiguous and difficult to interpret.

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2019-APR-12: Transgender ban goes into effect:

It has taken almost two years since President Trump tweeted that he intended to ban transgender people in the military.

There are currently still four lawsuits being pursued in various states. Existing service members who have been serving in their preferred gender in the past will be allowed to continue.

Shannon Minter, a lead attorney in one of the lawsuits, and the Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) said that:

"There ... are transgender people who have been scrambling to try to hurry up, come out, and begin the transition process so that they can be included in this so-called grandfathered group. ... that has been a source of enormous stress and anxiety. ... Gender is a fundamental aspect of a person's identity. It cannot be turned on and off like a switch, and the very notion of requiring a non-transgender person to do so would immediately be recognized as cruel and unworkable. It is equally cruel and unworkable for transgender people."

She said that transgender service members are in a "state of despair" and fear, and predicted that the military will lose "... skilled, highly qualified individuals from service because of their gender identity. ... "

Not mentioned in the ABC News article is the probable loss in efficiency and performance by transgender military members distracted by the new policies.

The Navy sent an administrative message saying that:

"There is no policy that prohibits the ability of a service member to express themselves off-duty in their preferred gender. ... Appropriate civilian attire, as outlined in the uniform regulations, will not be determined based on gender." 17

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2019-MAY: Legal challanges to President Trump's policy. Public opinion polls:

President Trump's ban on most transgender military servicemembes continue.

A public opinion poll by Gallup during MAY-15 to 30 shows that:

  • 71% of U.S. adults favor allowing transgender persons to serve in the military; 26% are opposed.

  • 43% of Republicans, 78% of Independents, and 88% of Democrats agree that they should be allowed to serve.

  • Support ranges from 84% among those 18 to 29 years of age; 73% for those 30 to 49; 66% for those over 50. 18

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2021-JAN-25: Early in his term, President Biden lifted the transgender ban in the military:

During 2017-JUL, former President Trump issued an executive order implementing a total ban of transgender persons joining the military in the future. Existing transgender members were allowed to remain. He felt that transgender persons caused "trememdous medical costs and disruption."

U.S. liberals and LGBT individuals have been actively committed to reversing Trump's policy.

The Senate confirmed Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary on 2021-JAN-22. The vote was 93 to 2. Senators Josh Hawley (R-MI) and Mike Lee of (R-UT) were the only Senators voting no.

On JAN-25, Austin was ceremoniously sworn into the position by Vice President Kamala Harris. 19 They are both the first non-white persons to hold these positions.

Later that day, In the company of Austin, President Biden signed an executive order that repealed former President Trump's ban on transgender individuals joining the military.

Just before he signed the order in the Oval Office, he said:

"This is reinstating a position that the previous commanders and, as well as the secretaries, have supported. And what I'm doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform."

Also on JAN-25, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that past cases in which transgender service members had been discharged from the military because of their gender identity would be individually reexamined.

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Previous articles in this series on transgender persons in the U.S. military:

Part 1: 2011/2012: Overview. Support. Current military policies. Care for veterans.

Part 2: 2016: Previous ends to discrimination by the military. Pentagon announces an end to discrimination against transgender members. Negative reactions.

Part 3: 2016: More negative reactions to the ending of discrimination. Positive reactions.

Part 4: 2016: President Trump's ban on transgender persons in the military.

Part 5: 2017: Trump bans transgender military service members via tweets. Federal court blocks the move.

Part 6: 2017-JUL/AUG: Impact on Trump's Ban of Transgender Military Service members. Public opinion polls. Court cases.

Part 7: 2017-AUG: Trump's restores Ban of Military Transgender Persons. Lawsuits filed. Gen. Mattis responds. Extra Cost of Transgender Members.

Part 8: 2017-OCT to DEC: Two Court injunctions against Pres. Trump's Transgender ban. Enlistees able to apply, in theory.

Part 9: 2018-JAN/MAR: Transgender Persons in Military: Transgender Enlistees Apply. Pres. Trump Modifies Transgender ban.

Part 10: 2018-APR to 2019-JAN: Medical groups criticize the ban. CNN celebrates Father's Day. Billboard battle in California.

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A helpful list:

The Toronto Star has a list of false claims made by President Trump. At the end of his first six months in office, the list totals 447 false claims. They average 2.4 per day. If this rate continues, he will accumulate over 3,500 false claims by the end of his first term in office. Daniel Dale, writing for the Star, commented:

"... Trump has proven uniquely willing to lie, exaggerate and mislead. By all expert accounts, he is more frequently inaccurate than any of his predecessors." 9

Jessica Maxwell spokesperson for the Pentagon responded: 

"The department is pleased with the district court's decision to stay the final injunction against the department's proposed transgender policy. The 2016 policy will remain in effect until the department issues further guidance, which will be forthcoming in the near future."

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Jana Pruet, "AMA claims there’s ‘no medically valid reason’ to exclude transgender people from military service," The Blaze, 2018-APR-04, at: https://www.theblaze.com/
  2. "APA Statement Regarding Transgender Individuals Serving in Military," American Psychological Association, 2018-MAR-26, at: http://www.apa.org/
  3. "APA Opposes Banning Transgender Service Members from Serving in Military," 2017-JUL-27, at: https://www.psychiatry.org/
  4. Alex Bollinger, "A Republican put up a hateful anti-trans billboard. So neighbors fought back with love," LGBTQ Nation, 2018-NOV-19, at: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/
  5. Alex Bollinger, "Trans activists projected a message to Donald Trump onto his DC hotel last night," LGBTQ Nation, 2018-NOV-20, at: https://www.lgbtqnation.com/
  6. William Vogeler, "Transgender Military Battle Continues as 9th Cir. Hears Arguments," Find Law, 2018-OCT-12, at: https://blogs.findlaw.com/
  7. Adam Liptak, "Trump Asks Supreme Court for Fast Appeal on Transgender Military Ban," New York Times, 2018-NOV-23, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
  8. Josh Jackman, "US Supreme Court allows Trump transgender military ban," Pink News, 2019-JAN-22, at: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/
  9. Daniel Dale, "Donald Trump just had his most dishonest week as president: 7 days, 34 false claims," Toronto Star, 2017-JUL-27, at: https://www.thestar.com/
  10. Image by Maiconfz. Downloaded from Pixabay. CC0 Creative Commons
  11. Michael Foust, "Federal Judge Lifts Injunction on Transgender Troop Ban," Christian Headlines, 2019-MAR-08, at: https://www.christianheadlines.com/
  12. Tom Vanden Brook, "Exclusive: Pentagon spent nearly $8 million to treat 1,500 transgender troops since 2016 ," USA TODAY, 2019-FEB-27, at: https://www.usatoday.com/
  13. "2018 Defense Budget," Military Benefits. 2017-DEC-12, at: https://militarybenefits.info/
  14. "Gender Dysphoria," Wikipedia, as on 2019-MAR-01, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  15. Tom Vanden Brook, "Pentagon's transgender policy will ban those who require treatment for gender dysphoria " USA TODAY, 2019-MAR-12, at: https://www.usatoday.com/
  16. "5 Things to Know About DOD's New Policy on Military Service by Transgender Persons and Persons With Gender Dysphoria, U.S. Dept. of Defense, 2019-MAR-13, at: https://www.defense.gov/
  17. Elizabeth McLaughlin, "Pentagon's transgender policy for military service to take effect, nearly two years after Trump tweeted about the ban," ABC News, 2019-APR-12, at: https://abcnews.go.com/
  18. Justin McCarthy, "In U.S., 71% Support Transgender People Serving in Military," Gallup, 2019-JUN-20, at: https://news.gallup.com/
  19. Kate Sullivan, "Bien lifts transgender military ban," CNN, 2021-JAN-25, at: Transgender military executive order

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Copyright 2017 & 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update : 2021-FEB-12
Author: B.A. Robinson
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