News & Politics

Trump's Ban on Transgenders in the Military Wins Federal Appeal

Transgender former U.S. Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning attends an New York City, August 2, 2017. (Photo by Dennis Van Tine/Sipa USA, Sipa via AP Images)

Donald Trump vowed to repair our military and the damage done under Barack Obama. Barack Obama believed it was his job to use the military as part of a left-wing sociological experiment. As a result of being the new front in Obama’s war for social justice, various politically correct policies were enacted at the expense of military readiness. Under Obama, the military opened up combat position to women, even though in order for women to qualify, physical fitness standards had to be reduced—policy trumping military readiness for the sake of social justice!

Halfway through Obama’s last year in office, the military also began the process to end the ban on transgenders serving in the military. Trump, however, vowed to “get away from political correctness” in the military, deferring such decisions to “the generals, the admirals, the people on top.” Trump announced a full ban on transgenders in the military in June 2017, before Obama’s policy would take effect. But Trump’s ban was blocked by a federal judge in October 2017.

On Friday, the Trump administration won a federal appeal lifting an injunction on his transgender military policy.

The February 2018 plan crafted by former defense secretary Jim Mattis, at the president’s request, appears less restrictive than the blanket ban initially promised by Trump because it allows transgender people to serve if they do so “in their biological sex,” a panel of three judges in Washington ruled Friday.

The ban still can’t be immediately implemented, however, because injunctions from several other courts remain in place. In November, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to conduct an expedited review of the cases and to preempt rulings by appeals courts.

The Washington appellate panel said it relied on military reports that found “not all transgender persons seek to transition to their preferred gender” or have a condition known as gender dysphoria. And military experts convened by Mattis said transgender men and women have served “with distinction under the standards for their biological sex,” according to the ruling.

“Thus, the district court erred in finding that the Mattis plan was a blanket transgender ban,” the judges said.

Opponents of the Trump policy have argued that transgenders in the military would have no negative impact, including the judge who issued the injunction in October 2017.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington put the temporary injunction in place in October 2017, calling the ban a form of discrimination based on gender and ruling it was already causing harm to personnel.

“There is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all,” the judge wrote at the time.

To put it simply, she’s wrong. One study found that if transgenders were allowed to serve in the military, the Pentagon would find itself on the hook for $1.3 billion in sex-change surgeries over ten years—that’s not even taking into account the possibility that more transgenders might be drawn to military service in order to get a taxpayer-funded sex change. Also, a few months after the injunction, the the Pentagon released its review of Obama’s transgender military policy and found “there are substantial risks associated with allowing the accession and retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and require, or have already undertaken, a course of treatment to change their gender.” According to the report, exempting transgenders from sex-based standards would undermine military readiness and hurt unit cohesion. The Pentagon study also determined that the Obama administration used a bogus study as the basis for its transgender military policy—which shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Other injunctions on the Trump policy remain in place. It is likely this issue will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.



Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis