The Pentagon will start openly green-lighting new transgender recruits next week unless a last-ditch effort from the White House results in a new level of judicial intervention from the Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump tweeted in July that the federal government ‘will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.’
Trump at the time also called on the military to ‘discharge’ transgender personnel and halt funding of ‘sex reassignment surgical procedures.’
That appeared to reverse a 2016 policy change under President Barack Obama, who allowed biological males living as females – and vice-versa – to serve openly.
In July, Trump tweeted that he had decided he would “not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.” The tweet came with little, if any, advance consultation with military officials, who have not shown much enthusiasm for reinstating the ban.
President Donald Trump got coal in his stocking from a handful of federal courts that won’t let him ban transgender recruits from joining America’s armed forces
Transgender politics have become front and center this year with Trump as president; notable transgenders Chelsea Manning and Gavin Grimm are shown riding in New York’s ‘Pride’ parade this year
The Pentagon’s top general, James ‘Mad Dow’ Mattis, has been forced to side with a 2016 Obama administration directive instead of listening to his own commander-in-chief
But court battles followed, climbing the ladder up to a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Those judges ruled against the administration just before Christmas, leaving the U.S. Supreme Court as Trump’s only hope to stand his ground.
Barring an order from the high court, U.S. service branches will be required to ignore the president’s tweets and process transgender enlistments beginning January 1.
At least four federal judges have refused to allow Trump’s ban to take effect, including U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal in California.
On Friday Bernal rejected the Trump administration’s request to throw out a lawsuit attacking the ban.
Bernal agreed with seven plaintiffs that they were improperly discriminated against based on their sex or gender.
The Pentagon is already preparing for the sea change; one memo distributed to commanders orders them to address recruits by the names and gender pronouns they prefer
On the same day, a pair of federal appeals courts – the D.C. court and one in Richmond, Virginia – both refused requests for emergency ‘stays’ that would have stopped the Defense Department from accepting transgender applications on January 1.
The administration’s lawyers ‘have not shown a strong likelihood that they will succeed on the merits of their challenge to the district court’s order,’ the D.C. judges wrote.
Trump tweeted in July that the federal government ‘will not accept or allow’ transgender individuals to serve ‘in any capacity’ in the military but federal courts have stopped him
‘It must be remembered,’ the trop added, that the plaintiffs want ‘to serve their nation with honor and dignity, volunteering to face extreme hardships, to endure lengthy deployments and separation from family and friends and to willingly make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives if necessary.’
A Justice Department spokeswoman, Lauren Ersham, responded with a brief statement: ‘We disagree with the court’s ruling and are currently evaluating our next steps.’
The Pentagon is already preparing for the sea change. One memo distributed on December 8 to sector and battalion commanders advises them on ‘transgender applicant processing.’
‘As always, every applicant will be treated with dignity and respect,’ it said, ordering officers to address recruits by the names and gender pronouns they prefer.