USA court bars Trump from reversing transgender troops policy

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"Transgender people are just as qualified to serve as anyone else", GLAD's Jennifer Levi, a lead co-counsel in case, tells TIME.

Before Trump's August 25 directive, the Department of Defense had announced it would allow openly transgender people to enlist in the military beginning on January 1, 2018, and that transgender people were protected from being discharged due to their gender identities.

According to the estimates, 1,320 15,000 transgender people serve in the us army's 1.3 million active-duty personnel.

The Pentagon has not released data on the number of transgender people now serving, but a Rand Corp. study has estimated between 1,320 and 6,630, out of 1.3 million active-duty troops.

The transgender service members sued in August to try to block the ban. Many transgender individuals came out, being open about identities they had long hidden for fear of being discharged, and the military started preparing to enlist openly transgender people.

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Bannon's Breitbart News, where he returned as chairman after leaving the White House in August, was clearly celebrating too. Flake's decision puts an additional layer of stress on the Republican Party for the 2018 midterm elections.

In June 2016, then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter allowed transgender individuals to serve openly and permitted funding of gender reassignment treatments, including surgeries. She directed a return to the situation that existed before Trump announced his new policy this summer, saying the administration had provided no solid evidence for why a ban should be implemented.

"Their lives have been devastated since Trump first tweeted he was reinstating the ban", Minter said.

The Justice Department, in seeking the lawsuit's dismissal, said none of the plaintiffs had established that they will be impacted by current policies on military service. The other plaintiffs are aspiring servicemembers who feared Trump's ban meant those plans had been "thrown out the window". During that time, the RAND Corporation issued a report finding that the number of openly transgender people serving in the military would likely "be a small fraction of the total force and have minimal impact on readiness and health care costs".

US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the government to "revert to the status quo" that was in effect before Trump's June 30 executive order banning transgenders from serving in the military.

The judge - who was named to the court by President Bill Clinton - noted in her ruling that the changes in transgender policy were "not genuinely based on legitimate concerns regarding military effectiveness or budget constraints, but are instead driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally".

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