US: Federal judge shuts down Trump’s ‘new’ transgender military ban

A federal court in Seattle in a ruling on Friday shut down President Trump’s “new” ban on transgender people serving in the military, which was issued by his administration last month.

Trump had claimed that the old ban was revoked and replaced with the new one, but U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman rejected this distinction, noting that the new documents “do not substantively rescind or revoke the ban, but instead threaten the very same violations that caused it and other courts to enjoin the ban in the first place.”

Indeed, she found the claim that the new ban has exceptions wholly unconvincing:

The Court is not persuaded. The Implementation Plan prohibits transgender people — including those who have neither transitioned nor been diagnosed with gender dysphoria — from serving, unless they are “willing and able to adhere to all standards associated with their biological sex.”

Requiring transgender people to serve in their “biological sex” does not constitute “open” service in any meaningful way, and cannot reasonably be considered an “exception” to the Ban. Rather, it would force transgender service members to suppress the very characteristic that defines them as transgender in the first place.

As she did when she first ruled against the ban last year, Pechman also concluded that transgender people are a “suspect class” — a group vulnerable to unfair treatment and discrimination solely because of their identity. Thus, any rationale for categorically excluding them from service must be examined and considered with heightened scrutiny. Read more via Think Progress