Two additional lawsuits challenge Trump's transgender military ban

Courtesy

One lawsuit is being filed on Monday in a federal court in Seattle by Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN.

President Trump announced the change in policy in a series of tweets in July, stating that the "United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the USA military".

The two lawsuits follow an August 9 lawsuit featuring "5 transgender service members with almost 60 years of combined military service", according to a statement from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and can not be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail", Trump tweeted.

"It is an unconscionable and unconstitutional breach of trust for the president to single out courageous transgender service members and able recruits for discrimination", Human Rights Campaign National Press Secretary Sarah McBride said in a statement. All service members have a statutory entitlement to full doctor-recommended medical care.

"Each and every claim made by the President Trump to justify this ban can be easily debunked by the conclusions drawn from the Department of Defense's own review process", Josh Block, an ACLU lawyer, said in a statement.

President Trump's order to reinstate a ban on transgender people from serving in the military is a awful decision and a major step backward in equal rights.

"Dripping with animus, the Ban and the current accessions bar violate the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Fifth Amendment and the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment", the suit states.

Trump had announced the ban in a series of tweets on July 26, reversing a policy of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The service members in the earlier case, who are suing anonymously, say they disclosed their gender orientation relying on the existing policy that permits them to serve openly.

The lawsuit also argues the ban discriminates based on sex and transgender status.

However, the suit argues Trump provided no cost analysis and cites news reports suggesting top military officials were "surprised" by his announcement.

In the order, Trump said the Obama administration "failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the ... longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources". Trump has tasked Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis with coming up with a plan by February 2018 for addressing already enlisted transgender individuals.

RAND estimated the number of transgender individuals now serving in the military to be between 1,320 and 6,630, out of 1.3 million total service members.

Another lawsuit filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders was filed before Trump's directive and remains pending before a federal court in D.C.

The White House, the Defense Department and the Justice Department didn't immediately respond Monday to the Washington Blade's request for comment on the lawsuits.

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