Politics

House Democrats demand military end the ban on trans troops in light of Supreme Court decision

A soldier has a rainbow flag sticker covering their mouth.
Photo: Shutterstock

House Democrats are asking the military to end Donald Trump’s transgender military ban in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock, which said that Title VII’s ban on discrimination “because of sex” includes discrimination against LGBTQ people.

The letter – which was sent by Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and signed by 116 Democratic members of Congress – says that the transgender military ban is an “attack on transgender service members who are risking their lives to serve our country.”

Related: Pentagon-funded study shows troops mostly oppose Trump’s transgender military ban

In 2017, Trump tweeted that the military was going to ban transgender people from serving openly, and last year the ban went into effect. Transgender servicemembers are required to serve as their sex assigned at birth and can’t access gender affirming health care while in the military. People diagnosed with gender dysphoria can’t join the military unless they show that they are “medically stable” as their sex assigned at birth for three years.

The ban sparked four federal lawsuits that have had some early victories in court but didn’t prevent the ban from being implemented.

“There are four lawsuits challenging the ban on open transgender military service on the grounds that it violates the Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which like Title VII prohibits sex-based discrimination,” the letter states, citing statements from the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Medical Association that transgender people can serve in the military just fine.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock will provide significant weight to those already substantial claims: the principle announced – that gender-identity discrimination is discrimination ‘because of… sex’ – applies equally to claims under the Constitution.”

The letter accuses the Trump administration of “prolonging the litigation” even though it will end in “certain defeat,” urging the Department of Defense to lift the ban and the Department of Justice to settle the lawsuits.

“It’s crucial that the Department of Defense remove this unconstitutional transgender military ban and ensure any qualified patriot is able to serve,” said Jennifer Dane of the Modern Military Association of America. “Thousands of transgender service members have already more than proven themselves with honor and distinction, and this discriminatory barrier that has nothing to do with their ability to accomplish the mission must be taken down.”

“We are thankful for Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s leadership, and we urge the Department of Defense to take swift action.”

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