Trump's transgender military ban has reared its ugly head yet again: A Supreme Court order issued early this Tuesday, January 22, has given the administration the go-ahead to put the now-notorious policy into effect.
The unsigned order—approved by a 5-4 vote after Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all dissented—will allow the ban to be enforced while the case continues to move through the lower courts, reports The New York Times. (The Supreme Court also declined to hear legal challenges to the ban from the Trump administration, which was actually a move that favors the trans community and has experts from groups like Lambda Legal "perplexed.")
The trans military ban was first announced by the President on Twitter during the summer of 2017. Despite repeated legal challenges brought up against the ban in lower courts, its introduction has already impacted trans service members, who reported "bureaucratic red tape" preventing them from enlisting.
Trump has stressed time and time again that he's convinced the Supreme Court will uphold it. Now, trans advocates and allies fear he could be right. As recently as January 4, 2019, the policy regained momentum when a ruling from Washington, D.C.'s Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a court order preventing the Trump administration from enforcing it.
"In declining to hear [challenges to the ban], the Supreme Court saw through the administration’s contrived efforts to gin up a national crisis," said GLAD Transgender Rights Project director Jennifer Levi in a statement. “Unfortunately, the Court’s stay of the lower courts’ preliminary orders means that courageous transgender service members will face discharges while challenges to the ban go forward. The Trump administration’s cruel obsession with ridding our military of dedicated and capable service members because they happen to be transgender defies reason and cannot survive legal review.”
Today's news is just the latest blow to freedoms and protections for transgender Americans under the Trump administration. Last October, The New York Times leaked a memo from the current administration that proposed changing the legal definition of gender to symbolically erase transgender people.
Of course, Trump claimed the memo was merely a precaution to "protect the country."
Programming Note: TransMilitary, a documentary following four transgender military personnel, re-airs Thursday on Logo, at 10pm EST.