ACLU sues President Trump over transgender military ban

Posted at 9:58 AM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 13:12:44-04

The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted Monday that it is suing President Donald Trump over his ban of transgender people serving in the military.

"We're taking (Trump) to court to challenge the unconstitutional transgender military ban," the ACLU tweeted. "The ban is based on uninformed speculation, myths and stereotypes, and a desire to harm transgender people. Each and every claim made by the Trump to justify #TransMilitaryBan is debunked by conclusions drawn from the (Dept. of Defense)'s own review process.

“Men and women who are transgender with the courage and capacity to serve deserve more from their commander-in-chief.”

The ACLU tweeted that it is also representing six service members "hurt by #TransMilitaryBan." 

President Donald Trump on Friday directed the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, following through on his intentions announced a month earlier to ban transgender people from serving.

The presidential memorandum also bans the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals currently serving in the military.

Trump also directed the departments of Defense and Homeland Security "to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant," the White House official said.

Last month, Trump said on Twitter that he would reinstate a ban on transgender troops, an announcement that took many in the military's leadership -- including the joint chiefs of staff -- by surprise.

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," Trump said in a series of tweets. "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."

A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a "minimal impact" on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military's 1.3 million-member force.

The study put the number of transgender people in the military at between 1,320 and 6,630. Gender-change surgery is rare in the general population, and the Rand study estimated the possibility of 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year in the military, with 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members annually. The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year, an amount that would represent an "exceedingly small proportion" of total health care expenditures, the study found.