Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Fails Again in Court as California Federal District Judge Issues Nationwide Injunction

(LOS ANGELES, CA DECEMBER, 22, 2017)Today, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction halting Trump’s transgender military ban while it is challenged in the courts. With today’s ruling, there are now four nationwide preliminary injunctions issued by federal courts across the country—the first was issued in Doe v. Trump on October 30. Plaintiffs in Stockman v. Trump include Equality California and individual current and aspiring transgender service membersrepresented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and Latham & Watkins LLP. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra successfully petitioned to intervene in the suit as a plaintiff on behalf of the State, and was represented at oral argument on December 12.

“Today is a significant victory for transgender service members across the country,” said Rick Zbur, Equality California Executive Director. “We thank our brave plaintiffs, our lawyers at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Latham & Watkins LLP, and Attorney General Xavier Becerra for this win. This ruling along with the others in similar cases affirms the fact that transgender troops deserve to be treated with honor, dignity and respect.”

“This court saw the gravity of the issues at stake – for our plaintiffs, for our military, and for our national security,” said Shannon Minter, NCLR’s Legal Director. “Trump’s ban is a dangerous policy, which has wreaked havoc in the lives of transgender service members and the entire transgender community. Each court that rules against it brings us closer to a permanent end to this nightmare.”

“Four district courts have now ordered the military to allow transgender people to enlist and serve,” said Jennifer Levi, Director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project. “The military has put in place procedures to ensure the orderly processing of enlistment applications as of January 1. And transgender people continue to serve proudly and courageously across the globe. The case against President Trump’s ban on military service by transgender people is gaining momentum. There is no principled reason to prevent qualified transgender people, who wish to do so, from putting their lives on the line to defend our country.”

NCLR and GLAD have been at the center of the legal fight challenging President Trump’s military ban since filing Doe v. Trump, the first of four cases filed against the ban, on August 9The Trump administration lost the first round and appealed Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s October 30 nationwide preliminary injunction to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, one court level below the United States Supreme Court. The preliminary injunction temporarily halts Trump’s ban and requires equal treatment of transgender troops and enlistees while the legal challenge makes its way through the courts.

On the same day oral arguments were heard against the ban in California, Judge Kollar-Kotelly denied the Administration’s request for a partial stay of the October 30 injunction, and reaffirmed that qualified transgender recruits must be allowed to enlist starting January 1, 2018, per a prior policy set by the Department of Defense. The government’s request for a partial stay has been subsequently denied by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and, in the related case Stone v. Trump, by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. 


Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve.

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.