5 US soldiers sue Trump over ban on transgender military service

0
396

Washington, Aug 10 : Five US active-duty transgender troops on Wednesday sued President Donald Trump in a Washington federal court over Trump’s tweets about a possible ban on transgender people from serving in the US military.

They are arguing that the president’s related tweets have impinged on their constitutional rights, and, though there is no concrete new policy from the White House yet, they have already been harmed because they no longer have a reasonable expectation they can continue serving.

“The directive to reinstate a ban on open service by transgender people violates both the Equal Protection component of the Fifth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution,” says a complaint filed by two LGBTQ groups on behalf of the five anonymous soldiers, listed only as Jane Doe 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

“The categorical exclusion of transgender people from military service lacks a rational basis, is arbitrary, and cannot be justified by sufficient federal interests,” the complaint filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia wrote.

The five plaintiffs in the lawsuit have nearly 60 years of combined service, according to the groups, namely the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said the White House “will work with the Department of Defense to lawfully implement the policy,” but revealing no details about how or when such a policy would be released.

“As is with any ongoing litigation we cannot comment on it,” she told BuzzFeed News in an email on Wednesday.

On July 26, Trump tweeted that the US military “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” claiming he had consulted with “generals and military experts” before making the decision.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you,” he said in another tweet.

However, Pentagon so far hasn’t promulgated such a ban. US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said the next day that Pentagon would not change the current policy until the White House issued further “guidance.”

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates there are more than 15,000 transgender troops in the US military. The RAND Corporation estimates there are between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender personnel in the active service and between 830 and 4,160 in the selected reserve.

According to a report released by the Palm Center on Wednesday, it would cost 960 million dollars for Pentagon to recruit and train replacements for the estimated 12,800 transgender troops serving in the US armed forces.