A US federal judge on Monday dismissed an appeal by the Trump administration that would have postponed the date of the opening of the armed forces to transgender recruits, allowing them to do so as early as January 1 as planned.
This decision is a snub for the US President who tweeted in July that transgender people could not serve in the military “in any capacity”.
Two federal courts have temporarily blocked the ban imposed by Donald Trump and the Pentagon is expected to begin accepting transgender recruits from January 1, according to the decision made last year by the administration of Barack Obama.
In its appeal filed Wednesday night, the Justice Department demanded that the Pentagon’s obligation to accept transgender recruits to be pushed back.
“The court will not postpone its preliminary injunction,” said Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.
The Obama administration decided last year that the army should begin accepting transgender recruits by July 1, 2017. The current Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, had postponed this six-month deadline to “evaluate the impact of this integration on the armed forces.
“The announcement today that the US military will agree to recruit transgender people as of January 1, 2018 reflects a very simple reality: Pentagon military and civilian employees have been preparing for the arrival of transgender Americans for more than two years,” commented the Palm Center, an organization specializing in the rights of LGBT people in the military. “The US Army is ready.”
For hee part, the White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that by opening the ranks of the army to transgender, the Pentagon was only ” complying with a decision of justice”.
“The Justice Department is evaluating its legal options to ensure that the President’s directive can come into force,” she added.
According to the US Department of Defense, there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender people out of the 1.3 million active military personnel. The rights organization Human Rights Campaign estimates that the figure is closer to 15,000.
These are soldiers who have declared their orientation after joining the military, such as Chelsea Manning, the WikiLeaks informant.
The Pentagon “is continuing its preparations for the recruitment of transgender people into the military from January 1st,” said a spokesman for the DoD, David Eastburn.
According to the guidelines, the candidates must have completed all their medical treatments, including hormonal therapies, for at least 18 months in order to be recruited.