While the Supreme Court has declined to hear arguments regarding Trump’s transgender military ban, it will nevertheless permit the administration to enforce it.
Supreme Court Justices blocked district court injunctions that would have prevented the policy from taking effect pending a 9th Circuit court decision on the issue.
The court declined, however, to hear the arguments and give a ruling on the subject in a 5-4 vote.
Following the Court’s announcement, the Pentagon issued a statement attempting to downplay the policy.
“As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity. (The Department of Defense’s) proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world. DoD’s proposed policy is based on professional military judgment and will ensure that the U.S. Armed Forces remain the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.” — Lt. Col. Carla Gleason, Pentagon spokesperson
A court order had forced the Pentagon to resume accepting transgender servicemembers effective January 1, but this ruling will overturn that order.
As of now, the vast majority of transgender individuals are now banned from serving in the military except for:
- Individuals who are 36 months post-operation and have completed hormone treatments
- Individuals who do not require a change of gender and remain deployable despite a diagnosis of gender dysphoria
- Individuals who received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria prior to the implementation of the policy and were already enlisted
- Individuals who do not have a gender dysphoria diagnosis and who retain their birth-sex identity but may still identify as transgender
The Pentagon also made it clear that any transgender individual currently serving who anticipates requiring gender reassignment surgery or hormal treatment during their period of service will be discharged due to their inability to be deployed for a period in excess of 12 months.
Waivers can still be issued on a case-by-case basis.
The administration has justified its policy by arguing that transgender service members put too much of a financial drain on the system by requiring surgery and hormonal treatments, and that those individuals are unfit to serve during their period of transition.
However, as of 2016, there were only 8,980 active duty service members who identified as transgender, and only 937 of those individuals were diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
When one considers those 937 individuals that the administration has deemed problematic in the context of the 1.3 million active duty service members in this country, one can see that the administration is once again proposing a cruel and illogical solution to a manufactured problem.