Trans

Lawsuits Fly Against Trump Administration's Reversal on Transgender Military Service

Three separate attempts to block memo calling for new ban.

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Transgender protests
Robin Rayne Nelson/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Regardless of how one might feel about transgender people serving the military (if one feels anything at all), it really is worth understanding that President Donald Trump's memorandum reversing Department of Defense policy has the potential to truly screw over identifiable people currently serving.

The memorandum, released Friday amid a bunch of other high-profile news moments, orders the Department of Defense to reverse a policy still being implemented and refuse to accept new people who identify as transgender into the military.

For transgender people currently serving, it halts any Defense Department funding of sexual reassignment surgery unless they've already begun treatment.

The bigger issue for transgender troops is the memorandum calls on Secretary of Defense James Mattis to decide what to do with members of the military now openly serving. After President Barack Obama announced the policy change allowing in trans troops, members of the active military took the opportunity to "come out" as transgender and began transitioning.

These members now risk ejection for having identified themselves as transgender. Imagine Trump ordering the military to revert back to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and the fate of every military member who had come out of the closet.

Subsequent lawsuits should not be a surprise. Identified current members at risk should have legal standing to fight the order. One lawsuit had been filed in the name of a handful of transgender troops even before the memo was issued. Two more groups representing transgender military members have since followed suit.

Lambda Legal represents a currently serving transgender soldier and two transgender people who say they want to enlist. Two civil rights organizations (Human Rights Campaign and Gender Justice League) are also plaintiffs. The lawsuit notes Trump's now-familiar lack of interest in any sort of process or planning when announcing policy changes:

This unilateral decision to exclude transgender people from the military was made without any meaningful deliberative process and was directly contrary to the considered judgment of the military. For example, President Trump failed to engage in any meaningful consultation with Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis or the other range of military officials who would ordinarily be consulted about a policy change of this nature and magnitude.

The lawsuit contends the policy change violates the Fifth Amendment due process rights of transgender troops and the First Amendment and is "unsupported by any compelling, important, or even rational justification."

The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted this morning they are also filing a suit making very similar claims. They had already been planning to do so when Trump announced the change of policy via a series of tweets.

The White House memo is not quite as harsh as one might think, based on news coverage. Trump is claiming the Obama administration did not adequately research whether transgender troops serving openly would "hinder military effectiveness, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources" and that the whole issue needs more study. He's essentially saying "Prove it!" to people who are arguing that transgender troops have been working out just fine.

And should the court cases move forward, that's exactly what the plaintiffs will attempt to do: Show that transgender troops are doing their jobs and are accepted by the military. Research indicates that (much like the bathroom panic) the accommodation of transgender troops in the military is not causing or is going to cause any sort of crisis.

The memo puts Mattis in a sort-of bind. If he decides currently serving transgender troops are not causing problems and should be allowed to continue to serve, does that provide the proof that Trump is asking for? And if so, how does Trump respond?

It would not be surprising, then, for Mattis to be pressured to find reasons to eject currently serving transgender troops. Otherwise, what was the point of all of this?

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  1. Regardless of how one might feel about transgender people serving the military (if one feels anything at all)…

    A rather parenthetically cynical view of Reason readers.

    1. Regardless of how one feels about the matter, the ACLU’s lawsuit against the transgender ban is baseless.

      The plaintiffs represented by the ACLU, who are already in the military, lack legal standing to challenge the refusal to accept future transgender applicants, as this article explains:

      http://libertyunyielding.com/2…..er-troops/

      Not that the liberal judges who have been assigned these challenges will necessarily care. They may well rule in favor of the challenges, only to be reversed by the Supreme Court.

      As the commentary I linked to above notes, “Excluding transgender applicants is perfectly rational, and will save taxpayers money. As Stars and Stripes reported in September 2016, ‘The Pentagon expects to pay between $40,000 to $50,000 during the course of a service member’s life to treat gender dysphoria.’
      …..
      “The ACLU doesn’t seek simply to force the military to admit applicants who have already had a sex change, but also to force the military to pay for sex changes and ongoing sex-change related expenses. The ACLU’s Chase Strangio says that any refusal to pay for such expenses would be ‘outrageous and unconstitutional,’ even though the military does not pay for similarly expensive cosmetic surgeries and treatments for non-transgender troops. Thus, advocates of transgender troops effectively are demanding preferential treatment.”

      1. I knew people in boot camp who signed up just for the free dental care. Do you also object to them?

        There are people who stay in because their spouses have heart disease or cancer, and they want the free medical care. Do you also object to them?

        Principles, principals, how’s that saying go?

        1. I knew people in boot camp who signed up just for the free dental care. Do you also object to them?

          So, you WANT the government and military to spend more money if the virtue they signal is something you like? Just checking here.

          There are people who stay in because their spouses have heart disease or cancer, and they want the free medical care. Do you also object to them?

          Principles, principals, how’s that saying go?

          Apparently, “cutting spending” is no longer a Libertarian principle.

          1. “Principles, principals, how’s that saying go?

            Apparently, “cutting spending” is no longer a Libertarian principle.”

            Yeah, I didn’t really see him making the point he thought he was here. It’s very easy to maintain one’s principals and object in all three examples.

        2. Yes and yes. In both cases.

          What, did you think “dental work” or “my spouse is sick” were impossible to object to or something?

          So, what now.

        3. Do they have a mental illness or was their reasoning for joining financial?

          Yeah, financial. Pretty much like any job.

          Transgender people have a mental illness and want someone else to pay for their medical wants.

        4. People who get dental treatment tend to not have a 40 percent suicide rate post-op.

          The Army alone already has a suicide rate that’s double the national average. Why exactly should it accept people that are scientifically proven to be exponentially more likely to kill themselves?

      2. I guess it depends on the definition of cosmetic, since as has been widely reported the military spends five times that amount of Viagra alone.

        1. Viagra returns proper function to a body part.

          1. Not a militarily necessary body part.

            1. If the service exacerbated the condition, then it is legit. I don’t love it, but if we’re going to cover medical expenses then it has to qualify.

              1. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

                1. Your attitude is the one I find unbelievable! My wife wants plastic surgery for “face-o-phobia”. Should she join to get that? A three thousand dollar set of teeth does not compare to hundreds of thousands that the super-specialists, that do this surgery, collect! It also is correctly identified as a suicide risk!

                  1. My comment was for Tony, since it is not posted as such..

            2. Depends on whether you’re banging that desert queen or not.

      3. ” “Excluding transgender applicants is perfectly rational, and will save taxpayers money. As Stars and Stripes reported in September 2016, ‘The Pentagon expects to pay between $40,000 to $50,000 during the course of a service member’s life to treat gender dysphoria.'”
        You do realize that training the ousted trans* solider’s replacement will be way more then that $40-50k, right?

        If you want to approach this from a purely economical perspective, retention, even with a $50k medical condition, is an easy winner.

      4. “even though the military does not pay for similarly expensive cosmetic surgeries and treatments for non-transgender troops. ”

        Breast reduction and breast augmentation surgeries are routinely performed for non-transgender troops. So is genital reconstruction in case of trauma caused by accident or warfare.

        The best surgeons in the world for FtoM surgery are in Serbia, where they gained experience dealing with the effects of “castrator” land mines.

        As regards this being “cosmetic”:

        “Sex Reassignment is Effective and Medically Indicated in Severe GID. In persons diagnosed with transsexualism or profound GID, sex reassignment surgery, along with hormone therapy and real life experience, is a treatment that has proven to be effective. Such a therapeutic regimen, when prescribed or recommended by qualified practitioners, is medically indicated and medically necessary. Sex reassignment is not “experimental,” “investigational,” “elective,” “cosmetic,” or optional in any meaningful sense. It constitutes very effective and appropriate treatment for transsexualism or profound GID.”

        Standards of Care v6

  2. For transgender people currently serving, it halts any Defense Department funding of sexual reassignment surgery unless they’ve already begun treatment.

    While no doubt does the bait and switch or pendulum swing (whatever you want to call it) of public policy on transgender service screw people over, possibly without any real cause, and while I don’t necessarily believe that all gender identity issues are mental illness, asking taxpayers foot the bill for surgery even for service members in the first place seems over the line. As much as the country likes to say our policy is to support the troops, in reality you’re largely serving at the whim of your commander-in-chief.

    1. I thought the whole idea of reassignment surgery was to take care of that swinging pendulum.

    2. Do you also object to serving members who stay in to get the free medical care for spouses or children, say, those with heart disease, cancer, mental issues?

      1. Do you also object to serving members who stay in to get the free medical care for spouses or children, say, those with heart disease, cancer, mental issues?

        Nobody opposes giving the trannies mental health care.

        It’s the whole mutilating their bodies because of their mental health issue that is a bit off-setting. And that can you survive just fine WITHOUT the mutilation (given that they have done so up to that point) that kinda belies its necessity.

        Can you provide studies that can demonstrate the NECESSITY?

        1. “Can you provide studies that can demonstrate the NECESSITY?”

          Yes, of course. What on Earth made you think otherwise?

          See http://www.scribd.com/doc/2272…..al-Surgery

          You’ll find dozens of studies demonstrating necessity referenced in that document.

          1. That was an utter fail, son. “This doctor says psychology accepts it and his group, which is all about ‘transgender health’ says it’s totes important” isn’t a study PROVING it.

            Can you explain away the horrifying suicide rates post ops? Or why the few studies run have the problem of being unable to even FIND most of the subjects post-op?

      2. Yes. Why do you think I wouldn’t?

      3. You don’t get dental nor spouse medical benefits after leaving the military before 20 years. You get limited spouse medical if you get retire at/after 20 years.

        If you have a service connected injury, you get medical via the VA medical system for the rest of your life.

  3. The Obama administration did not make a full policy, the details were to be made later.

    I am not sure how you manage to argue that someone has a right to enlist in the military, when other chronic medical conditions can also disbar one from military service.

  4. And it’s Scott Shackington from the top ropes with a joke about… fonts!

    1. Shacklefrod should hold a class for some of the other writers (not mentioning any names) on how to do alt-text.

      He could be their guru. Or maybe their Bhagwan.

  5. Defense Department funding of sexual reassignment surgery

    This is the part of all this I can’t get past. Either it’s an elective surgery that has no business being funded by the taxpayer, or it’s a requirement for “proper” functioning – however that is defined – which begs the question of why isn’t the taxpayer funding every other manner of “defect” that can prevent someone from enlisting? Let’s say I can’t cut it physically – can I demand bionic limbs to make me faster, stronger?

    1. And even aside from the cost, doesn’t the hormone therapy make them weaker? A bionic arm could make someone a great candidate for the military. But this is like calling muscles a defect.

      I really can’t understand why someone like that would want to be in the military in the first place

    2. How do you feel about spouses or children getting free medical care?

      There is a difference between cancer and sexual reassignment surgery, in that one will kill you while the other just makes you unhappy. But if a shrink says the reassignment is necessary, same as PTSD treatment might be necessary, why single out trannies? Why not kick PTSD victims out without treatment?

      1. There is a difference between cancer and sexual reassignment surgery, in that one will kill you while the other just makes you unhappy. But if a shrink says the reassignment is necessary, same as PTSD treatment might be necessary, why single out trannies? Why not kick PTSD victims out without treatment?

        Markedly higher costs with frightening suicide rates post-op?

        And nice to see you comparing an ACTUAL condition like PTSD with the fantasy-du-jour of trannyism.

        1. If it’s service connected PTSD, the military is responsible for your medical/mental care for life.

          1. This. And if they already had PTSD before trying to joining the military, I would assume they would be rejected.

          2. But of course, they shirk that responsibility and find some excuse to kick them out.

            1. Those EXCUSES are mental illness, inability to fully perform their duties, and cost.

              Sound like good reason to me.

        2. Why not kick PTSD victims out without treatment?

          Oh, they already do.

          1. There are fakers too.

            Even military members are sometimes not above chasing VA welfare.

  6. I’d like to side step the importance of this issue and commend the alt-text.

  7. You have no right to serve in the military. Furthermore, the military denies eligibility to serve for many medical issues. Asthma is one example.

    Transgender people have a mental illness. They also require a lifetime of counseling and meds plus many want elective surgery.

    1. “Nobody opposes giving the trannies mental health care.”

      Er.. yes they do. Mental Health care the way you mean it doesn’t work, and harms patients. It’s snake oil.

      “Treatment aimed at trying to change a person’s gender identity and lived gender expression to become more congruent with sex assigned at birth has been attempted in the past (Gelder & Marks, 1969; Greenson, 1964), yet without success, particularly in the long-term (Cohen-Kettenis & Kuiper, 1984; Pauly, 1965).

      Such treatment is no longer considered ethical.”
      – Standards of care v7 2011

      1. Er.. yes they do.

        Nope. Sorry.

        Mental Health care the way you mean it doesn’t work, and harms patients. It’s snake oil.

        Slicing off one’s genitals due to dysmorphia is a real treatment. Totally not snake oil. Should we call anorexics “fatties” too? Their issue is no different than trannies, except nobody expects us to humor their delusions.

        “Treatment aimed at trying to change a person’s gender identity and lived gender expression to become more congruent with sex assigned at birth has been attempted in the past (Gelder & Marks, 1969; Greenson, 1964), yet without success, particularly in the long-term (Cohen-Kettenis & Kuiper, 1984; Pauly, 1965).

        Slicing off genitals has been even less effective.

        Sorry if some people have difficulty with, you know, basic genetic reality. Schizophrenics also have problems with basic reality.

        Such treatment is no longer considered ethical.”
        – Standards of care v7 2011

        Again, the argument is that MUTILATING THE INSANE is more ethical.

  8. I have so many mixed feelings about this, but one that isn’t at all mixed is letting trans in. They are just people and deserve discrimination as much as anybody else.

    It annoys me that trannies sign up to get the government to pay for their surgery and treatment. But I knew people in boot camp who made it clear they signed up to get dental care, and I don’t doubt there are some who stay in for the medical care, be it cancer or heart disease or anything else. People do the same with private companies too. What it comes down to is government fucking things up from the start with employers adding health insurance to get around wage controls during WW II, and now no one in their right mind gets it themselves if they can get their employer to pay for it.

    It annoys me that sexist attitudes pushed against women in the military for so long that the backlash makes gender-neutral physical requirements impossible to implement fairly. Look at the current nonsense in Australia where a bunch of ratings are for women only so they can boost the gender ratio. Some thing applies to gays, trannies, and every other arbitrary distinction.

    Everything comes down to government fucking things up, and not only making it possible for ordinary people to get the government to fuck up other people, but actively encouraging it.

    Government sucks.

    1. Gender neutral physical requirements are impossible to implement wit hour cutting way down on women in the military at all or having too many me8 are too out of shape to perform many basic combat duties. Men and women are physically different in ways that affect performance. Transgenderism, as an ideology, wants to pretend those differences do not matter.

      People with high maintenance medical conditions (like diabetes) are also disbarred from joining t he military. Have their rights been [violated?

  9. Have these people heard of the military deference doctrine?

  10. The memorandum, released Friday amid a bunch of other high-profile news moments, orders the Department of Defense to reverse a policy still being implemented and refuse to accept new people who identify as transgender into the military.

    I should be outraged…why?

    For transgender people currently serving, it halts any Defense Department funding of sexual reassignment surgery unless they’ve already begun treatment.

    I should be outraged…why? Am I actually seeing Reason gripe that the government isn’t spending more money now?

    After President Barack Obama announced the policy change allowing in trans troops, members of the active military took the opportunity to “come out” as transgender and began transitioning.

    A bad Obama idea led to some bad repurcussions.

    Lambda Legal represents a currently serving transgender soldier and two transgender people who say they want to enlist.

    There’s no right to enlist. Are they aware of this?

    And should the court cases move forward, that’s exactly what the plaintiffs will attempt to do: Show that transgender troops are doing their jobs and are accepted by the military. Research indicates that (much like the bathroom panic) the accommodation of transgender troops in the military is not causing or is going to cause any sort of crisis.

    Troops don’t want to gripe about highly political higher officers? Get the fuck outta town!

  11. *pops popcorn, gets ready to watch the shitshow*

  12. What about the midgets and giants? Only men between 58 to 78 inches can enlist in the Marine Corps.

    1. Dwarfs don’t have the huge numbers of useful idiots, like transgender people do.

  13. CULTURE WARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

  14. I suppose we could go all libertarian on this bitch and look at the contracts that were broken… on many sides.

  15. RE: Lawsuits Fly Against Trump Administration’s Reversal on Transgender Military Service
    Three separate attempts to block memo calling for new ban.

    Here’s an idea.
    Let the General of the Army, the General of the Air Force, the Marine Corp Commandant and the Chief Naval Officer decide for their respective branch if they want transgenders in their respective services.
    Oh, wait.
    That makes sense.
    My bad.

  16. I am writing to express just how sad it has been to see the level of writing and journalism here at Reason descend steadily to the point where the majority of it is approaching the level of being s***. The frequency with which lack of logic and absurd conclusions are trotted out has been especially disappointing.

    In this particular article, an example is its closing: “It would not be surprising, then, for Mattis to be pressured to find reasons to eject currently serving transgender troops. Otherwise, what was the point of all of this?”

    How in the literal f*** is that the non-surprising, logical conclusion/point? I could think of lots of other “points” to all of this, none of which include booting out all the currently serving transgender troops. Doesn’t mean they’d be worthwhile purposes/points, but the author’s conclusion is the kind of lazy “Of course this must be the only possible explanation so let’s rail against it in moral indignation even though it hasn’t actually happened,” argumentation that teenage “journalists” use when they’re thinking they’re going to write a Pulitzer Prize winning piece for the student newspaper at their high school.

    The truly sad part is that I don’t think the author even realizes he’s doing it.

    There is one thing that keeps me coming back here, and that’s the comments section. Otherwise, the good writing would be getting drowned out so often by the bad writing that it’d be tough to not just put it down and walk away.

  17. The military is no place for social experimentation or charity, but I’d have no objection to the swishers joining so long as they’re willing to sign an ironclad, legally binding agreement that they’ll seek absolutely no government-paid medical expenses whatsoever for ANY sex change procedures.

  18. http://navy.army.com/info/join/medical

    Applicants with any of the following conditions are not qualified for processing to enlist. There are many other conditions that are not listed below that could disqualify you or could be waived. You’ll need to talk to your local US Navy recruiter about your specific situation.

    Amputation of arm, leg or limb.

    Anaphlaxis, severe, to insects or food.

    Blindness, one or both eyes.

    Body Art/Tattoos: No visible tattoos on the neck, face or scalp. NRPS staff shall
    review the DD-Form 2808 and personally verify each tattoo annotated by medical
    staff. Tattoos that are excessive, obscene or advocate sexual, racial ethnic or
    religious discrimination are disqualifying. Gang related symbols/tattoos are
    disqualifying. Clarification of all questionable tattoos shall be referred to the
    appropriate Region Commander for final disposition.

    Body mutilation, piercing, branding/intentional scarring that are excessive or
    eccentric are disqualifying.

    Many more…

    [I am blind in one eye and have severe anaphylaxis, who do I sue?]

  19. Hermaphroditism (state characterized by presence of both male and female sex
    organs).

    Psychiatric Conditions: Schizophrenia. (For the previously disqualifying disorders of: Major depression, recurrent; Bipolar disorder; Panic disorders; Sexual disorders; and Personality disorders, severe; recommend courtesy review first, but NRD can request MEPS exam. MEPS examiner usually will decline and instruct that courtesy review be requested first.

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