Judge Says Pentagon Has To Allow Transgender Recruits In Military

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Pentagon must accept transgender recruits into the military.

The U.S. District Court of Columbia issued a ruling Tuesday that the Pentagon has to permit transgender recruits to join the military beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.

District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly agreed that a preliminary injunction also applies to the Trump administration’s attempt to keep new transgender recruits out of the military. She stated that the point of the new court order was to revert to status quo of recruitment policies prior to the relatively recent presidential memo on transgenders.

The American Military Partner Association, a pro-LGBT military organization, expressed gratitude for the decision.

“We’re grateful for this judge’s decision recognizing the fundamental principle that any qualified American — regardless of their gender identity — should be able to serve the country they love,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack in a statement. “This decision continues to give our military families hope that justice will ultimately prevail.”

The Pentagon under the Obama administration repealed the ban on transgenders serving openly in the military in June 2016 and set in motion plans to allow transgender individuals to join the armed forces in mid-2017.

But in July 2017, Trump wrote a series of tweets saying he would not allow transgenders to serve, citing disruption to the military and high costs. An August directive to Secretary of Defense James Mattis prevents transgenders from joining the military unless Mattis specifically recommends otherwise. The directive also prevents any Department of Defense resources from being used to fund sex-reassignment surgery. The one exception for this rule is if an individual is already undergoing treatment. The memo also gave Mattis until Feb. 21, 2018, to come up with a permanent plan on transgenders serving openly in the military.

The injunction, first issued in late October and now applied to the Trump administration’s attempt to block transgender recruits, lasts until the case is fully resolved or a judge decides to remove it.

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