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Doe v. Trump



Update December 30, 2017: The Trump administration dropped its attempts to delay transgender enlistment after repeated court losses in GLAD and NCLR lawsuits. The Pentagon confirmed that the military will begin accepting qualified transgender military recruits after January 1, 2018. This marks the first time in United States history that qualified transgender Americans will be authorized to openly enlist in the nation’s Armed Forces.

The Trump administration also dismissed existing appeals of three preliminary injunctions issued in cases filed to stop President Trump’s transgender military ban, including in Doe v. Trump. The administration had not yet filed an appeal of the December 22 preliminary injunction secured in NCLR and GLAD’s second case, with Equality California, Stockman v. Trump. The Department of Justice has indicated it will continue opposing legal challenges to the ban in federal district courts.

For transgender Americans ready to enlist, read our guide for more information on the enlistment process.

Update October 30, 2017: Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and enjoined the transgender military ban, the discriminatory policy challenged in Doe v. Trump, the first case filed against President Trump’s transgender military ban.

What does this mean? Read our FAQ.

Update October 16, 2017: GLAD and NCLR hit back at the Trump administration’s defense of its transgender service ban in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. In our brief refuting last week’s Trump Administration claims that no harms have resulted from the ban, we demonstrate to the court why Interim Guidance issued by the military does not protect transgender troops from the irreparable harms the ban has been inflicting on them since it was announced in July. We urge the court to stop the ban now, before it takes full effect in March 2018.

Update: October 5, 2017: The Department of Justice responded to GLAD and NCLR’s motion for an immediate stop to President Trump’s transgender military ban. In the government’s motions to dismiss the case and oppose the plaintiffs’ request for emergency relief, the Trump administration falsely claimed transgender individuals have not yet suffered harm from this policy. GLAD and NCLR, who are set to respond to the government’s motions in court later this month, reiterated the compelling need to put an immediate halt to the ban: transgender Americans looking to enlist are not able to do so, and currently-serving transgender servicemembers have been demeaned and stigmatized, denied health care, and are facing the loss of their professions, livelihoods, health care, and the post-military retirement they have worked hard to earn.

Read the Government’s response

Update August 31, 2017: GLAD and NCLR filed a new motion for urgent, immediate halt to President Trump’s transgender military ban, and amended our initial complaint to include two new named plaintiffs: Regan Kibby and Dylan Kohere, respectively a midshipman from the U.S. Naval Academy and a student enrolled in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Powerful declarations in support of the motion for preliminary injunction from these new plaintiffs and from top military officials from the Army, Navy, and Air Force outline why leaving this ban in place would irreparably harm transgender servicemembers and their families and undermine national security.


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.

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.



Original Complaint

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Amended Complaint

Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss/Oppose Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss and Reply in Support of Plaintiffs’ Application for A Preliminary Injunction

Memorandum of Opinion

Order Denying Motion for Partial Stay

Supporting Declarations


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

Top Military Leaders:

Former United States Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (August 2017)

Supplemental Declaration of Eric K. Fanning in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (October 2017)

Former United States Secretary of the Navy Raymond Edwin Mabus, Jr. in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (August 2017)

Supplemental Declaration of Edwin Mabus, Jr. in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (October 2017)

Former Secretary of the United States Air Force Deborah Lee James in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (August 2017)

Supplemental Declaration of Deborah Lee James in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (October 2017)

Former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Rogers Carson in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (August 2017)

Former Deputy Surgeon General for Mobilization, Readiness, and Army Reserve Affairs Margaret Chamberlain Wilmoth in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction (August 2017)

Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, GI, for U.S. Army Cadet Command Robert O. Burns

U.S. Navy Captain Robert B. Chadwick 

Declaration of Mark J. Eitelberg in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Medical Expert

Supplemental Declaration of George Richard Brown, MD (October 2017)

Amicus Briefs

15 State Attorneys General

Leading Health/Medical Organizations

National Center for Transgender Equality and other Advocacy Organizations

The Trevor Project

Additional Information

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

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.