Transgender military members sue Trump over ban
August 15, 2017 1:00 PM CDT BY AL NEAL
Five transgender military service members, including veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, filed a lawsuitagainst Trump in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C. Wednesday, August 9 challenging his directive to ban transgender individuals from serving.
Trump’s tweets July 26, said that the U.S, government will not “accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity” in the military, a complete reversal of current Pentagon policy.
The service members suing Trump have all come out as transgender to their commanding officers but are anonymous in the lawsuit. GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders attorney Jenifer Levi said the plaintiffs, who are all named Jane Doe, chose anonymity for fear of retaliation.
The lawsuit states that Trump’s tweets violate the Fifth Amendment rights of service members to due process and equal protection under the law, as well as the legal doctrine of “estoppel,” which prevents a person from making claims contradictory to previous promises or actions before the court.
“From the implementation of its June 2016 policy until the President’s June 26, 2017 announcements, Defendants provided Plaintiff’s with ongoing support for their continued service in the military as openly transgender persons. In reliance upon that promise from Defendants, Plaintiffs informed their commanding officers that they are transgender,” reads the lawsuit. “Because they identified themselves as transgender in reliance on Defendants’ earlier promise, Plaintiffs have lost the stability and certainty they had in their careers and benefits, including post-military and retirement benefits that depend on the length of their service.”
Defendants listed in the lawsuit are: Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, and other high-ranking military officials.
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