February 20, 2018

Banning Transgender Service is Unconstitutional

SAN FRANCISCO, CA –Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin released the following statement about the Pentagon’s forthcoming plan to implement President Trump’s transgender ban:

“On Aug. 25, 2017, President Trump directed Defense Secretary Mattis to reinstate a full ban on transgender troops, setting a Feb. 21, 2018 deadline for an implementation plan. As Sec. Mattis prepares to release the road map for implementing President Trump’s ban tomorrow, he should keep in mind that four federal courts have blocked the ban from going into effect and have ruled that the only constitutional option is to apply the same standards to every service member, meaning that troops who are fit for duty can serve. 

Applying a single standard to all service members is not only the sole legal option, but is the best way to promote military readiness. Transgender troops have been serving openly in the U.S. military for nearly two years, and have been widely praised by commanders. All available research, including the military’s own extensive study of the issue and the results of a thorough study by the RAND Corporation, indicates that inclusive policy promotes readiness by ensuring equal treatment and drawing on all available talent. Eighteen foreign militaries allow transgender troops to serve openly, and none have reported any compromise to readiness. The Trump administration should not politicize the evidence to score political points with its anti-LGBT base.”