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Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement of Trump's Transgender Military Ban

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., blocked the Trump administration on Monday from enforcing its policy banning transgender military service while a case against the policy makes it way through court.

President Donald Trump's July of 2017 directive, issued via Twitter, that no transgender person be allowed to serve in the military "in any capacity," reversed a 2016 Department of Defense decision to lift the ban on transgender service members and provide funding for gender transition for service members.

Several transgender service members sued the Trump administration over the policy change, and, on Monday, United States District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote that the plaintiffs' argument that the president's policy changes are "not genuinely based on legitimate concerns regarding military effectiveness or budget constraints, but are instead driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally," had merit.

"The court finds that a number of factors—including the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives, the unusual circumstances surrounding the President's announcement of them, the fact that the reasons given for them do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself—strongly suggest that Plaintiffs' Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious," Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

Given that the plaintiffs are likely to win, the judge blocked the Trump administration from banning transgender individuals from enlisting while the case is still under review. However, Kollar-Kotelly denied the plaintiffs motion to reverse the ban on funding for gender reassignment surgery.