Yesterday (August 29), Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis released a statement saying that the Department of Defense (DOD) “will carry out the president’s policy direction” to push transgender service members out of the military. He also said that he will continue to allow people who are currently in the Armed Forces to serve while the DOD conducts a study and creates an implementation plan that “will contain the steps that will promote military readiness, lethality, and unit cohesion, with due regard for budgetary constraints and consistent with applicable law.”
The memo specifically directs Mattis and his Department of Homeland Security counterpart, Elaine Duke, to provide an implementation plan by February 21, 2018, and that the provisions to ban transgender people and stop paying for reassignment-related medical needs “except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex” are not actually slated to go into effect until March 23, 2018.
In other words: Nothing has changed.
There are lawsuits pending against Trump and the DOD for this ban, including one lead by five anonymous active duty service members and another from the American Civil Liberties Union. But the reality is that policies like these threaten the lives and livelihoods of trans people every day.
There is still much work to do. Here are three organizations fighting for trans rights; you can support them today.
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund works to end discrimination based on gender identity and expression, and uses direct legal services, test-case litigation, public education and public policy to push the nation toward equality. Donate here.
TransWomen of Color Collective brings groups across the nation together to hold up the narratives and lived experiences of trans and gender nonconforming people of color, who are disproportionately killed for simply being themselves. Donate here.
National Center for Transgender Equality is a social justice advocacy organization that works to evolve policies at the federal, state and local levels to secure life-saving change for transgender people. Donate here.