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Doe v. Trump



Update August 31, 2017: GLAD and NCLR file new motion for urgent, immediate halt to President Trump’s transgender military ban:

Plaintiffs Application for Preliminary Injunction

Amended Complaint

Declarations of Five Former Top Military Leaders:

Former United States Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning

Former United States Secretary of the Navy Raymond Edwin Mabus, Jr.

Former Secretary of the United States Air Force Deborah Lee James

Former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Rogers Carson

Former Deputy Surgeon General for Mobilization, Readiness, and Army Reserve Affairs Margaret Chamberlain Wilmoth

Declarations of Plaintiffs:

Regan Kibby, Midshipman, U.S. Naval Academy
Dylan Kohere, member of Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps Program


GLAD and NCLR have filed a lawsuit in federal court in DC challenging President Trump’s directive to reinstate a ban on military service by transgender people.

Read the press release       Read the complaint

Palm Center: Understanding Trump’s Memo on Transgender Servicemembers: What it Means, and Why it is Contrary to Fact and Law

We filed this lawsuit because:

  • President Trump is needlessly attacking courageous transgender service members who put their lives on the line for our country. Trump’s efforts to reinstate the ban are already harming service members, who have been blindsided and are scrambling to deal with what this means for their families and their futures—including the loss of job security, retirement benefits, healthcare, and other serious harms.  
  • The military itself carefully studied this issue and concluded that there is no reason to bar transgender people from military service.
  • Since the Department of Defense announced in June 2016 that transgender people can openly serve, thousands of transgender soldiers have come out and are serving openly. Our country is safer and more secure because of their service.

We represent five active duty service members who came out as transgender to their commanding officers in reliance on the Defense Department’s June 2016 announcement that transgender people can now openly serve in the military.

The lawsuit asserts that President Trump’s directive to ban transgender service members violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the federal Constitution. We argue that Trump’s policy was enacted to discriminate, not to serve any legitimate purpose. It directly contradicts the military’s own careful, recent conclusion—reached after a comprehensive review process—that there is no reason to ban transgender soldiers from serving.

The lawsuit also claims that the military cannot promise transgender soldiers that they can serve openly, encouraging them to come out to their commanding officers, and then pull the rug out from under their feet. The law prohibits such unfair conduct.

In addition to GLAD and NCLR, the plaintiffs in Doe v. Trump are represented by lawyers from Foley, Hoag LLP and WilmerHale.

Additional information

After years of study, military experts concluded that allowing transgender servicemembers to serve openly would be administratively feasible, would not harm military readiness, and would be in alignment with core military values of dignity and respect. See:

Department of Defense Transgender Service Policy

Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly

The Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly in the U.S. Military

Planning Commission on Transgender Military Service

Transgender Military Service in The U.S.

 If you are or could be affected by a change in military policy, please contact us.