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3 former military secretaries are helping the suit against Trump’s military ban

Three former military service branch secretaries have added their voices to a lawsuit against Donald Trump’s transgender military ban.

Doe v. Trump was filed last month on behalf of five – and now eight – transgender service members, with legal help from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLAD. They argue that Trump’s transgender military ban denies them their 5th and 14th Amendment rights to equal protection and due process.

Now former Army secretary Eric Fanning, former Navy secretary Raymond Mabus Jr, and former Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James have filed declarations in this lawsuit in support of transgender service members. Fanning was the first openly gay secretary of a service branch.

Mabus referred to research done by the Pentagon on transgender troops. “President Trump’s stated rationales for reversing the policy and banning military service by transgender people make no sense,” he wrote. “They have no basis in fact and are refuted by the comprehensive analysis of relevant data and information that was carefully, thoroughly, and deliberately conducted by the Working Group.”

“The discharge of highly trained and experienced service members, causing unexpected vacancies in operations units, and requiring the expensive and time-consuming recruitment and training of replacement personnel,” Fanning wrote.

In her statement, Jamesdiscussed morale. “The impact to morale engendered by the abrupt reversal of the policy permitting open service by transgender people will not only have an effect on the morale of our current service members,” she wrote.

In 2016, the Obama Administration lifted the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military. Transgender people currently in the military could come out, and each service branch was given a year to come up with a plan for transgender recruits.

Over the past couple of months, though, Donald Trump has moved to purge the military of transgender people, leaving many transgender service members in a bind: they identified themselves as transgender because they thought it was safe to do so, and now that information could be used against them.

“Last year, the Department of Defense announced that transgender people could serve openly. I was very relieved and came out as transgender to my commanding officers, who were supportive,” one unidentified plaintiff in Doe V. Trump said. “I am married and have three children, and the military has been my life. But now, I’m worried about my family’s future.”

Two other lawsuits have been filed against Trump’s transgender military ban, one by Lambda Legal along with several other LGBT organizations, and another filed by the ACLU.

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