Lauren Gray, NCLR lgray@nclrights.org / (215) 983-3099
Amanda Johnston, GLAD ajohnston@glad.org / (617) 417-7769
Tony Hoang, Equality California tony@eqca.org / 281-703-9292 

California Federal Court Hears Arguments Against Trump’s Transgender Military Ban from California Attorney General, NCLR, and GLAD, in Equality California Case Stockman v. Trump

(WASHINGTON, D.C., December 12, 2017)—U.S. District Court for Central California District Judge Jesus G. Bernal heard oral arguments December 11 in Stockman v. Trump, the California case challenging Trump’s transgender military ban. Stockman was brought on behalf of Equality California members and seven individual plaintiffs and is one of four federal lawsuits filed to stop Trump’s ban. On November 17, the U.S. District Court for Central California granted California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s motion to intervene as a plaintiff in this case because of the substantial interest that the state of California has in stopping the ban. More LGBTQ community members and members of the military live in California than in any other state.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), who are also co-counsel in Doe v. Trump, the first case filed against Trump’s ban, are representing the plaintiffs in this case along with Latham & Watkins LLP.

“Yesterday we appeared in court with Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders to stand together against discrimination and inequality,” said Attorney General Becerra. “In California, we must protect the rights of our 130,000 active duty military personnel and 56,000 members of the National Guard and Reserves. When we said we were ready to defend the rights of transgender service members, we meant it. Yesterday, we took our next step in doing just that. We are proud to be a co-plaintiff in this critically important lawsuit to defend the rights of Californians and our military.”

“Our transgender service members deserve the respect and support of their government as they put their lives on the line to protect our country,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We will continue to fight this ban as it brings unlawful discrimination into our military and jeopardizes the safety of its members.”

“Yesterday, I stood before District Judge Bernal and made the case for why Trump’s transgender military ban is hurting our dedicated troops and their families, our military, and our country,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter. “We are winning the battle against Trump’s ban, but there’s still a long fight ahead of us. Each additional federal court to issue a preliminary injunction helps bring us closer to an end to this nightmare for transgender troops and transgender Americans.”

“To have the office of the California Attorney General join with us in arguing against Trump’s ban powerfully demonstrates the reach of its harm,” said GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi. “It is an unfounded and unconstitutional attack on courageous transgender Americans and dedicated service members, and it puts our communities at risk.”

NCLR and GLAD have been at the center of the legal fight challenging President Trump’s military ban since filing Doe v. Trump, the first of four cases filed against the ban, on August 9The Trump administration lost the first round and appealed Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s October 30 nationwide preliminary injunction to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, one court level below the United States Supreme Court. The preliminary injunction temporarily halts Trump’s ban and requires equal treatment of transgender troops and enlistees while the legal challenge makes its way through the courts. On the same day oral arguments were heard against the ban in California, Judge Kollar-Kotelly denied the Administration’s request for a partial stay of the October 30 injunction, and reaffirmed that qualified transgender recruits must be allowed to enlist starting January 1, 2018, per a prior policy set by the Department of Defense.    


Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.EQCA.org

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation. www.GLAD.org

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. www.NCLRights.org