Starting January 1st, transgender people will be allowed to enlist in the military according to Pentagon officials who talked to the Associated Press. The legal battles are expected to be ongoing for the next several months.
Back in October, a Federal Judge blocked enforcement of the President’s request to issue a ban on transgender people in the military. This was intended to stay in place while the issue was settled in courts. Yesterday, United States District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled against the Trump administration’s request to issue a stay on that October ruling. The stay would have allowed military leaders to delay accepting new transgender enlistees.
This makes two federal courts that have rejected the ban. Currently, the Pentagon will adhere to the ruling. However, it is likely that officials will continue to pursue the stay according to an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. The Department of Justice has already filed an appeal of the ruling.
The legal climate surrounding this issue is not easy to navigate. This particular ruling reflections the many obstacles the federal government would have to cross in order to enforce the President’s demand for this ban. The President and federal government officials will have to make a compelling case that what is being proposed is for reasons outside of discrimination.
Even if transgender people are allowed to enlist, they will still have to meet strict physical, mental, and medical conditions in order to serve. These expectations will make it more difficult for them to be able to join the Armed Forces, regardless of the legal outcomes.