December 20, 2017

Pentagon Document Proves Justice Department Misled Federal Court about Transgender Ban

SAN FRANCISCO, CA –​ A Pentagon memo​ proves that the Justice Department misled a federal court by claiming that the military is unprepared to accept transgender applicants on January 1st. The memo, whose subject is “Transgender Applicant Processing,” consists of a simple set of instructions for processing applications, and was distributed to commanders on December 8.

Three days after the Pentagon issued the memo, however, the Justice Department asserted that a lower court’s order to lift the transgender enlistment ban “will place extraordinary burdens on our armed forces.” In an emergency request to the Washington, DC Court of Appeals, the Justice Department insisted on December 11 that the order could  “harm military readiness” because 23,000 recruiters and medical examiners had to be trained prior to the lifting of the ban.

Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin said that, “The December 8 memo proves that before the Justice Department told the courts that the military was unprepared to lift the ban, the Pentagon had already put in place everything that needs to be done.”

Two weeks ago, three former Service Secretaries confirmed that the military had already completed most of the preparations for lifting the ban by the time of the presidential transition almost one year ago. Earlier this week, three former military Surgeons General explained that even if the military had not completed most preparations almost one year ago, training personnel to process transgender applicants would not be difficult or time-consuming, and could be done immediately.

Belkin added that the newly discovered memo, “exposes the Justice Department’s false claim that the military must do more training before allowing transgender candidates to enlist.”