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  • Donald Trump continues his crusade against transgender people in the army.

    Donald Trump continues his crusade against transgender people in the army. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 23 November 2018
Opinion

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to intervene on a struck down policy prohibiting transgender troops from serving in the armed forces.

United States President Donald Trump asked the country's Supreme Court to review the rulings from the lower courts that blocked a policy barring transgender people from military service, declining to wait for decisions from federal appeals courts currently considering the issue.

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The Trump administration asked Friday for the Supreme Court to intervene on behalf of a policy prohibiting transgender troops from serving in the armed forces, disregarding rulings from lower courts.

In March, Trump stated his support for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis by endorsing his plan to restrict the military service of transgender people, specifically those who experience a condition called gender dysphoria. The policy was thought to replace an outright ban on transgender service members, which was announced by Trump last year on Twitter, citing concerns over military focus and medical costs.

The American Psychiatric Association defines gender dysphoria as a “clinically significant distress” due to a conflict between a person’s gender identity and their sex assigned at birth. Not all transgender people suffer from gender dysphoria, according to the association, which opposes the military ban.

Judges in federal courts in California, Washington state, and Washington D.C., refused to lift the injunctions they had issued against Trump’s original ban to allow the updated policy to be enforced, arguing that this new policy is essentially the same original ban, or merely a way to implement the original ban. The ruling stated that the law would take away the possibility of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

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The government appealed those rulings and the process has been moving forward. However, now it is seeking the highest court in the land to review the rulings, arguing that it wants to ensure that the Supreme Court would be able to review the dispute before its term ends in June 2019.

All over the U.S. there were current and aspiring military service members that sued the government in courts after Trump announced the ban that reversed former President Barack Obama’s policy of allowing transgender troops to serve openly and receive medical care to transition genders.

“This is simply one more attempt by a reckless Trump administration to push through a discriminatory policy,” said Jennifer Levi, director of the transgender rights project for the anti-discrimination group GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which represents some of the plaintiffs.

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