EXCLUSIVE: Air Force Slapped With Lawsuit After Stonewalling Release Of Transgender Health Unit Records

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Jake Smith Contributor
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A recently filed lawsuit from a national security think tank is alleging that the U.S. Air Force is wrongfully withholding records related to its transgender care services.

The Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in August 2023 seeking materials related to the Air Force’s Transgender Health Medical Evaluation Unit (THEMU), according to a copy of the suit obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Air Force initially acknowledged the FOIA request but then failed to provide further updates to CASA, prompting the think tank to file a lawsuit in late May against the branch in a Washington, D.C., district court for the records. (RELATED: Air Force Paid For Drag Queen To Appear At ‘Bingo’ Event And ‘Glow Party,’ Docs Show)

“CASA seeks communications between THEMU officials regarding the creation and implementation of the unit. We have been patient, but to date, CASA has received no responsive records and no additional communication from the Air Force regarding our request after the initial confirmation of submission,” James Fitzpatrick, director of CASA, told the DCNF in a statement on Thursday. “After over 280 days of waiting, we bring this suit to compel the production of these critical records to the American people.”

CASA is requesting communications records and meeting details from officials involved in the creation of THEMU, which provides taxpayer-backed services and treatment to servicemembers who identify as transgender or seek to “transition.” The request is also for any outside communications with corporate media outlets and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, a leading authority in the field of gender medicine.

The Air Force confirmed in August 2023 that it had received the FOIA request but said in an email days later that there would be a delay in delivering the records, citing a backlog of request cases, according to a copy of the email included in the lawsuit. The Air Force told CASA it would “strive to provide an update between 90 and 120 days,” rather than the standard 20-day timeline. (RELATED: Air Force Pushes For More Charges Against Accused Pentagon Leaker)

(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Close up of hands holding a pamphlet at the Pentagon during a Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender Pride Month event. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley. 2015. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

But nearly a year later, the Air Force has not fulfilled the FOIA request or provided any updates to CASA, according to the lawsuit. Having “exhausted” its other options, CASA is aiming to obtain the records through legal action.

“Indeed, to date CASA has received neither a further response nor any other communication from USAF (U.S. Air Force) regarding the request,” the lawsuit reads. “Given these facts, it appears that USAF has not met its statutory obligations to provide the requested records, nor intends to meet them absent litigation.”

“Through USAF’s failure to make a determination within the time period required by law, CASA has constructively exhausted its administrative remedies and seeks immediate judicial review,” the lawsuit reads.

Under the Biden administration’s leadership, the Department of Defense has embraced several LGBTQ initiatives across the various branches of the military, including allowing transgender individuals to serve and requiring service members to use the preferred pronouns of their colleagues. GOP lawmakers and critics have urged the DOD to focus more on military readiness rather than diversity and inclusion programs.

The Air Force declined to comment.

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