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As Judge Prepares To Decide On Transgender Recruits, Pro-LGBT Lawyers Argue Against Delays

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

Pro-LGBT lawyers are arguing that a federal judge should throw out the government’s attempt to request a delay on transgender recruits joining the military.

In a new filing on Friday, pro-LGBT lawyers made the case that the federal government’s motion to stay the order to accept transgender recruits into the military by Jan. 1, 2018, should be denied.

The lawyers argued that a delay on accepting transgender recruits would cause “serious irreparable harms” and maintained that “Allowing the military to exclude transgender people from accessions while this case proceeds would
subject all of the Plaintiffs, including those who are currently serving, to irreparable constitutional and other harms, including by “brand[ing] and stigmatiz[ing] Plaintiffs as less capable of serving in the military [and by] reduc[ing] their stature among their peers and officers.””

As recently as Wednesday, the federal government asked U.S. District Court Judge Collen Kollar-Kotelly for a delay while an appeal is underway.

The government wants the judge to make a ruling on the delay request by December 11. Ideally, the government wants to hold off until the Pentagon can complete a study on transgender individuals in the military, which will then determine policies for new recruits.

“Compelling the military to implement a new accessions policy while it is simultaneously completing a comprehensive study of military service by transgender individuals that may soon result in the adoption of different accessions standards would waste significant military resources and sow unnecessary confusion among service members and applicants,” the Department of Justice’s motion stated, according to Politico.

The Pentagon under the Obama administration repealed the ban on transgenders serving openly in the military in June 2016 and set in motion plans to allow transgender individuals to join the armed forces in mid-2017.

But in July 2017, Trump wrote a series of tweets saying he would not allow transgenders to serve, citing disruption to the military and high costs. An August directive to Secretary of Defense James Mattis prevents transgenders from joining the military unless Mattis specifically recommends otherwise. The directive also prevents any Department of Defense resources from being used to fund sex-reassignment surgery. The one exception for this rule is if an individual is already undergoing treatment.

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