Transgender People and the U.S. Armed Forces

The Story:

On Monday, October 30, the Hon. Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, enjoined an order from President Trump that would have banned the enlistment of transgender individuals in the U.S. armed forces effective March 2, 2018.

The Decision:

The ban began life as a July tweet. In August, President Trump turned it into a proper order, which both banned such recruitment and ordered the military to begin a six month review of what to do about transgender individuals currently in their ranks.

Judge Kollar-Kotelly cited the manner in which the ban was introduced as part of the case for enjoining it. Tweets lack “the formality or deliberative processes that generally accompany” important policy shifts.

The Thing to Know:

The Trump administration will almost certainly appeal but, pending any review by higher courts, transgender people desiring to serve may proceed under the authority of former President Obama’s June 2016 order.

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