President Donald Trump finally got to implement a ban on transgender people in the military on Friday — nearly two years after he shot off tweets declaring the military “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity.”
Lt. Col. Carla M. Gleason, a Pentagon spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News, “We are pleased that we are able to create and implement our own accessions policy,” adding that she is “not aware of any anecdotes up to this point” of military applicants or service members being penalized under the new rules.
The Pentagon has used a rhetorical sleight of hand to insist the new policy doesn’t actually ban transgender people, arguing service members can simply pretend they’re not and serve as their birth sex.
Four lawsuits will continue to challenge the policy on its merits, even as it takes effect, including one lawsuit based in Washington, DC, where challengers attempted to push back implementing the policy until recently. The US District Court in DC had issued a preliminary injunction blocking the ban in 2017, and as recently as March, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled the ban could not yet take effect due to a procedural timeline set by an appeals court. “Defendants were incorrect in claiming that there was no longer an impediment,” says Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling against the Trump administration. But as the clock ran out, the Pentagon was able to proceed. Read more via BuzzFeed News