Five transgender people who currently serve in the U.S. Military have sued President Donald Trump and top Pentagon officials after Trump last month abruptly said, via Twitter, that transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the military “in any capacity.”
The lawsuit asks that transgender troops be allowed to stay in the military and was filed Wednesday under pseudonyms – Jane Doe 1 through 5 – in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
It was organized by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD. Other groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have said they, too, are preparing lawsuits but will wait until the ban actually takes effect.
“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 said in a series of tweets. “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.”
The decision would reverse a policy initiated during the Obama administration that would allow transgender individuals to openly serve in the U.S. military.
Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban last year, but gave a year-long review process to determine how to best allow transgender recruits to join the military.
The day before the deadline, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced a six-month extension before transgender individuals could enlist in the armed services, saying that military leaders needed more time to review its impact on “readiness and lethality.”