Wed, Nov 01, 2017 - Page 7 News List

US court temporarily blocks Donald Trump’s military transgender ban

AFP, WASHINGTON

A US federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked US President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender personnel from serving in the US military.

US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the government to “revert to the ‘status quo’” that was in effect before Trump ordered the contentious ban.

However, at the same time she allowed to let stand a block on military funding for sex reassignment surgery for members of the armed forces.

Trump’s predecessor US president Barack Obama took the historic decision to allow openly transgender troops to serve in the military, a move that was due to go into full effect in July.

The new administration announced in June a six-month delay on implementing that ruling. In July, Trump surprised Pentagon leaders by announcing on Twitter a ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces.

“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 tweeted. “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.”

Kollar-Kotelly took issue with Trump’s claims in her ruling.

“The Department of Defense Working Group, made up of senior uniformed officers and senior civilian officers from each military department, unanimously concluded that there were no barriers that should prevent transgender individuals from serving in the military,” she said. “In short, the military concerns purportedly underlying the president’s decision had been studied and rejected by the military.”

Trump signed a document in late August ordering the Pentagon to no longer enlist transgender recruits, but leaving it to decide the fate of those already serving.

The president also barred federal funds from being used to cover the costs of medical treatment associated with gender reassignment surgery of troops already serving.

He gave the Pentagon until March 23, next year to craft a new policy on transgender service members.

The lawsuit against the president’s order was filed by five transgender service members in August.

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