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Court Says No Gender Bending in the Military

Court Says No Gender Bending in the Military

A federal court of appeals vacated the preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s “Mattis Plan” – the former Defense Secretary’s plan to enact Trump’s ban on transgenders in the military. A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a lower court’s ruling that had blocked the White House memorandum.

“It was clear error to say there was no significant change with respect to at least two aspects of the policy recommended by Secretary of Defense James Mattis in February 2018 and approved by the President in March 2018 (‘the Mattis Plan’),” the judges wrote in their ruling.

They also said the District Court erred by claiming the policy banned all transgender, calling it a “blanket ban,” when that was not the case. The Mattis Plan does allow for transgenders in the military under specific guidelines, the details of which were hammered out by a panel of medical and military experts. Those with gender dysphoria are to be disqualified from the military, but “currently serving Service members who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria since the previous administration’s policy took effect and prior to the effective date of this new policy, may continue to serve in their preferred gender and receive medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria.”

The judges wrote:

“Indeed, those reports repeatedly state that not all transgender persons seek to transition to their preferred gender or have gender dysphoria, J.A. 520, 606, 622-23, 636, 752, and the panel of experts convened by Secretary Mattis observed that there are transgender persons who ‘have served, and are serving, with distinction under the standards for their biological sex,’ J.A. 274. Thus, the District Court erred in finding that the Mattis Plan was a blanket transgender ban.”

There have been four lawsuits filed against Trump’s ban, and in all four cases, the lower courts blocked it. The federal appeals court judges made a point that Democrats just don’t seem to get: The military should have some say in how it runs its operation as to the fitness of its soldiers.

“Courts ‘must be particularly careful not to substitute our judgment of what is desirable for that of [the executive and legislative branches], or our own evaluation of evidence for [their] reasonable evaluation’ because ‘[i]t is difficult to conceive of an area of governmental activity in which the courts have less competence.’”

The judges were careful to point out that they weren’t issuing a final ruling on the merits of the plan itself, but merely addressing the appeal itself. However, they did acknowledge that “the military has substantial arguments for why the Mattis Plan complies with the equal protection principles of the Fifth Amendment.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, were predictably unhappy. They vow to continue to fight for transgender rights in the military.

... gain access to the military without a waiver. 

“Today’s ruling is a devastating slap in the face to transgender service members who have proved their fitness to serve and their dedication to this country,” said NCLR legal director Shannon Minter. “We will keep fighting this cruel and irrational policy, which serves no purpose other than to weaken the military and punish transgender service members for their patriotism and service.”

Weaken the military? How so? Soldiers need to be in the best physical and mental condition possible. They need to be ready to fight for their country and protect its citizens in a moment’s notice. Baring certain transgender from service is not discriminatory – at least no more so than preventing someone with flat feet, high blood pressure, or any other disqualifying medical condition.

The current Carter policy allows transgender candidates in post-gender transition and receiving cross-sex hormone therapy to gain access to the military without a waiver. However, someone with hypothyroidism taking hormones for the condition is “disqualified from military service without a waiver.”

The ban is not about discrimination: It is to make sure our soldiers are healthy and productive. Of course, liberals everywhere are blind when it comes to separating fact from realty.

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