The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced on Monday that they have filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's policy banning transgender individuals from serving in the military. Filing alongside the ACLU of Maryland on behalf of six trans people who serve in various capacities in the military, the civil rights organization argues in their complaint that the ban — which Trump announced unceremoniously over Twitter early in the morning of July 26 — violates the constitution by singling out and discriminating against trans people.
Word of the lawsuit comes after the Trump administration announced directives that would detail how the ban would be implemented — including urging the military to deny transgender applicants and to consider the "deployability" of current members when deciding whether to retain them.
"Our lawsuit argues that the ban violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process by singling out transgender individuals for unequal and discriminatory treatment," Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU LGBT & HIV Project wrote in a blog post on the ACLU website announcing the lawsuit. "Every justification that the president has offered in support of the ban has already been thoroughly reviewed and debunked by the Department of Defense itself when it adopted a policy permitting military service by transgender individuals last year."
— ACLU National (@ACLU) August 28, 2017
Named in the complaint are Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Staff Sergeant Kate Cole, Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert, and Senior Airmen John Doe. Each complainant has been in the military for a number of years — ranging between six and 26. Each of them are decorated and celebrated servicemen and women who have been praised throughout their careers.
In their blog post, the ACLU also takes aim at Trump administration's (multi-times debunked) argument that the costs of trans individuals serving is a "burden" on the military.
"Military, medical and legal experts have concluded that allowing open service by transgender individuals, many of whom have been serving in silence for years, does not disrupt military readiness or unit cohesion and imposes negligible costs," Strangio wrote. "By contrast, barring transgender individuals from joining the military and discharging those who are already serving is exceedingly costly and undermines national security and military readiness."
The ACLU's suit also follows one from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders that was filed shortly after Trump's Twitter announcement — also arguing that the policy would violate the Fifth Amendment of the constitution.