Lauren Gray, Communications Director, NCLR
lgray@nclrights.org / (215) 983-3099
Amanda Johnston, Director of Public Affairs & Education, GLAD
ajohnston@glad.org / (617) 417-7769

NCLR and GLAD Reinforce Urgency and Severity of Harm Caused by Trump’s Transgender Military Ban, as Midnight Deadline Approaches for Final Government Response in Doe v. Trump

(WASHINGTON, D.C., October 20, 2017)—As today’s midnight deadline nears for the Department of Justice to file a final response with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Doe v. Trump, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) released the following statements on the irreparable harms the ban is already inflicting on transgender Americans, including currently serving transgender service members.

“The Trump administration has manufactured a crisis for thousands of service members with decades of exemplary service,” said Jennifer Levi, Director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project and one of two lead attorneys on Doe v. Trump. “This discriminatory ban undermines national security and the strength of our Armed Forces. We cannot simply stand by and watch as transgender people’s lives are ruined.”

“These are dedicated professionals who have devoted their lives to military service,” said NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter, the other lead attorney on Doe v. Trump. “They deserve the same gratitude and respect as other service members. Instead, the Trump administration is demeaning their sacrifice and devastating their careers. Both our country and our service members have a lot at stake in this case, and we cannot let them down.”

In Monday’s final filing on behalf of plaintiffs, NCLR and GLAD made clear that the interim guidance issued by the Trump administration does not alleviate the serious harms facing transgender service members and their families or transgender Americans seeking to enlist.

NCLR and GLAD have called out the Trump Administration’s “fanciful” notion that the Interim Guidance issued by the Pentagon shields the President’s order from judicial review. The Interim Guidance merely attempts to “paper over the wreckage caused by the ban” and fails to address the significant harms already put in motion:

  • Nothing in the Interim Guidance prevents the reversal of the current policy permitting open service from taking effect on March 23, 2018.
  • Nothing in the Interim Guidance allows qualified transgender Americans to join the military or enroll in service academies or ROTC programs.
  • Nothing in the Interim Guidance changes the fact that this Administration has issued a flurry of conflicting instructions about healthcare for transgender troops that are causing ongoing confusion and delayed care.
  • Nothing shields transgender service members from adverse treatment as a new sub-class, deemed unfit to serve for reasons completely unrelated to their qualifications, capabilities, or past performance.

Former top military leaders who were instrumental in the year-long process of assessing and adopting a policy of open service for transgender service members have lent their voices in legal cases against the ban. These include retired Admiral and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, former Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, former Secretary of the Navy Raymond Edwin Mabus, Jr., and former Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, who have expressed their strong concern about the negative effects of Trump’s ban on military readiness, national security, and morale.

NCLR and GLAD’s efforts are led by top litigators in the field—Shannon Minter, NCLR’s Legal Director, and Jennifer Levi, GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project Director. They are also counsel in a second case, Stockman v. Trump. The government must respond in Stockman v. Trump by Monday, October 23.

To read NCLR and GLAD’s briefs on Doe v. Trump, declarations from the former military leaders speaking out against the ban, and amicus briefs from allied groups and 15 attorneys general supporting the case, click here.


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