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Court: DOD can't delay transgender enlistments beyond January 1

29 November 2017

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. military must go forward with previous plans to begin accepting transgender recruits on January 1, 2018, effectively returning the policy on transgender military service to the status quo that existed under President Obama. Kollar-Kotelly responded that no, he does not, and the military must start taking trans recruits on January 1.

The clarification came about after the Trump administration began appealing U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's October injunction blocking the ban.

Last month, a judge on the U.S. District Court ruled that the president's order to ban new transgender recruits from joining the military - as well as potentially expelling current members - can not be enforced while the case is being reviewed in court.

Mattis issued his memo on June 30 to delay transgender enlistments, which were set to begin at that time as result of a policy change during the Obama administration under Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, until January 1 in response to a request from military service chiefs for more time to implement the policy. However, yesterday Judge Kollar-Kotelly issued a clarification stating "that the effect of its order was to revert to the status quo", bringing policy on transgender troops back to the guidance that had originally been issued by the Obama administration in 2016.

A federal court has clarified DOD can't delay transgender enlistments beyond January 1.

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In her ruling in October, Kollar-Kotelly said the ban of transgender people in the military was "disapproval of transgender people generally".

Two weeks before Trump issued his official memo instating the ban in late August, two LGBTQ organizations filed lawsuits against the ban, representing six now serving trans military members and two recruits. He argued, "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming ... victory and can not be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail".

The two lawsuits are among four lawsuits filed against Trump's transgender military ban.

"Any action by any of the Defendants that changes this status quo is preliminarily enjoined", Kollar-Kotelly wrote in the Monday memo. The second injunction was issued Monday to clarify that the Department of Defense can not defer the January 1 deadline for allowing enlistment any further, according to court documents. The Trump administration has appealed her injunction.

Garbis' order will not only temporarily allows transgender troops to openly enlist in the military, but also allows current service members to receive any scheduled transition-related medical care, according to court documents obtained by NPR.

Court: DOD can't delay transgender enlistments beyond January 1