Navy officer sues Pentagon over transgender military ban

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A male Navy officer who “came out” as a would-be female after an Obama-era policy had been overturned by the Trump administration is suing the Pentagon, arguing that his discharge comes despite a successful record of service, The Hill reports.

Transgender troops had been allowed to serve openly since June 2016 when the Obama administration lifted the previous ban on their service. In July 2017, President Trump tweeted he would throw out the Obama administration policy, saying he would “not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

Under the new policy, people who came out as transgender under the Obama policy can continue serving openly and receive medical care. Anyone who comes out now, however, can continue serving only if they do so as their biological gender. Service members who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria “may be subject to the initiation of administrative separation” if they are “unable or unwilling to adhere to all applicable standards, including the standards associated with their biological sex,” the policy states.

Several suits have been filed against the policy, but this one, filed by two advocacy groups on behalf of the officer identified as Jane Doe, is the first since last year’s ban took effect.

“As an experienced officer, all she seeks is the ability to continue serving her country on the same terms as others,” Jennifer Levi, transgender rights project director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), said in a news release Wednesday, using the officer’s “preferred pronoun.”

“The Navy has invested nearly a decade in her training, and she is committed to serving for years to come.”

The Pentagon said that the policy is not a ban because of the transgender troops grandfathered in under the previous policy and because transgenders can serve if they don’t pretend to be a different sex.

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