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Trump's transgender ban in doubt after court rules Pentagon announcement came too soon
It is unclear whether the Defense Department's transgender ban will actually take effect on April 12 as planned.
A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the Pentagon jumped the gun last week when it announced it will ban people with a medical diagnosis of "gender dysphoria" starting next month. The reason: plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit challenging the transgender ban have until March 29 to request a rehearing.
Until then, an injunction preventing the Pentagon from implementing the transgender ban remains in place, ruled Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
"The ruling means that the Trump administration cannot enforce a ban on military service by transgender people," said Shannon Minter, an attorney who represents transgender people now serving in the military and others who want to join. "That includes all of our plaintiffs in this case, and all other transgender service members and transgender people who are seeking to enlist in the military."
Minter, who is legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said his clients are considering asking for a rehearing and a new injunction.
"As long as that prohibition against enforcing a ban remains in place, transgender service members must be treated the same as other service members, which means that they cannot be discharged for coming out and seeking to transition," he told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
"Those who have already come out and begun or completed gender transition cannot be discharged or treated unequally," he continued. "And transgender individuals who are seeking to enlist must be given an equal opportunity to do so, provided they can meet the standards applied to other applicants."
Defense Department officials had no comment on Wednesday.
The Justice Department, which represents the government in the case, asked D.C. District Court on Wednesday to lift the injunction. Justice Department officials argued that the government had assumed the injunction against the transgender ban had ended when the D.C. District Court ruled in the government's favor on Jan. 4.
They also argued that a Jan. 22 Supreme Court decision that lifted injunctions in other legal challenges to the transgender ban applies to this lawsuit as well.
Blake Dremann is president of SPART*A, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, and transgender troops. His group is advising members to plan for the transgender ban to go into effect on April 12.
"The confusion about this policy will continue to plague our members and the medical system," Dremann told Task & Purpose. "I ask that transgender service members not to take any chances and that if they require transition that they seek medical attention at the earliest moment possible. SPARTA will continue to provide support and guidance to transgender service members as we continue to work to change the policy back to allowing open service."
SEE ALSO: 'We're Already Here': A Renewed Transgender Ban Would Kill This Seasoned Army Grunt's Long Career
WATCH NEXT: A Service Member Talks About Being Transgender And His Support Network
The Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) is the largest official database of U.S. military media available for public consumption. It is also an occasional source of unexpected laughs, like this gem from a live fire exercise that a public affairs officer simply tagged 'Fire mortar boom.' In the world of droll data entry and too many acronyms, sometimes little jokes are their own little form of rebellion, right?
But some DVIDS uploads, however, come with captions and titles that cut right to the core, perfectly capturing the essence of life in the U.S. military in a way that makes you sigh, facepalm, and utter a mournful, 'too real.'
The US military does not need Iraqi permission to provide close air support or evacuate wounded troops in 'emergency circumstances'
The U.S. military does not need Iraqi permission to fly close air support and casualty evacuation missions for U.S. troops in combat, a top spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS clarified on Tuesday.
Army Col. James Rawlinson clarified that the Iraqis do not need to approve missions in emergency circumstances after Task & Purpose reported on Monday that the U.S. military needed permission to fly CAS missions for troops in a fight.
It all began with a medical check.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."
The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.
There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.