Judge: Transgender People A Protected Class, And The Military Can’t Enact Trump Ban

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“Transgender people have long been forced to live in silence, or to come out and face the threat of overwhelming discrimination,” the judge wrote.

A federal judge late Friday barred the federal government from implementing President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender members of the military, finding that the ban had to be subject to a careful court review before implementation because of the history of discrimination against transgender individuals.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington ruled that transgender people were a protected class and that the injunctions against the implementation of the ban that had been issued in December should remain in place. She wrote that there was a “long and well-recognized” history of discrimination and systemic oppression against transgender people, that discrimination against transgender people was clearly “unrelated to their ability to perform and contribute to society,” that transgender people have immutable characteristics and that they lacked relative political power.

“Transgender people have long been forced to live in silence, or to come out and face the threat of overwhelming discrimination,” Pechman wrote.

“The Court also rules that, because transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class. Therefore, any attempt to exclude them from military service will be looked at with the highest level of care, and will be subject to the Court’s ‘strict scrutiny.’ This means that before Defendants can implement the Ban, they must show that it was sincerely motivated by compelling interests, rather than by prejudice or stereotype, and that it is narrowly tailored to achieve those interests,” Pechman wrote.

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