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Active Duty Transgender Service Members Sue over Donald Trump's Trans Military Ban
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9 Aug 2017 05:32 PM EST

-by Trista McKenzie, Contributing Writer; Image: Donald Trump's tweets announcing his transgender military ban (Image Source: Twitter)

Five active duty transgender service members filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces.

According to CNN, this is the first lawsuit regarding the shocking announcement that Trump made in late July via Twitter. Trump even surprised U.S. defense officials with the policy change.

The five service members, who were unnamed in the suit, claim that they have relied on the Defense Department's standing policy allowing transgender service members to openly serve. They further believe that the ban is unconstitutional. While Trump's announcement was not detailed and allegedly would not affect transgender troops currently serving, some believe that they could face early termination or will be denied a renewal of their contracts.

Trump's ban, of course, is not an official policy as it has not been formally implemented. Still, the attorneys of the service members in the suit are asking a federal court in Washington to block it.

The president's plan has "already resulted in immediate, concrete injury to Plaintiffs by unsettling and destabilizing plaintiffs' reasonable expectation of continued service," they argue. Additionally, the White House seems to have has turned Trump's social media posts and rants into "official guidance, approved by the White House counsel's office, to be communicated to the Department of Defense."

The ban would reverse a policy approved under the Obama administration allowing transgender people to openly serve. The service members say the previous policy created an expectation they relied on and would allow them to inform their commanding officers that they are transgender and were undergoing gender transition.

"Because they identified themselves as transgender in reliance on (the Obama-era) earlier promise, Plaintiffs have lost the stability and certainty they had in their careers and benefits, including post-military and retirement benefits that depend on the length of their service," their attorneys noted. "Plaintiffs have served honorably and successfully in the military since coming out as transgender, and their transgender status has not had any detrimental effect on their ability to serve or to fulfill their duties."

Trump's announcement came after Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter had allowed for a year-long review so the Pentagon could evaluate how it would accept new transgender recruits. Current Defense Secretary James Mattis then announced in June that he was delaying the implementation of the new policy as he needed more time for the review. While officials had asked for the White House's input on the policy, Trump's three-tweet announcement caught them off guard.

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