TLDEF Condemns Department of Justice Brief That Uses Stigma of Mental Disabilities To Justify Transgender Military Ban

TLDEF Condemns Department of Justice Brief That Uses Stigma of Mental                                 Disabilities To Justify Transgender Military Ban

Transgender Legal Defense & Education today denounces the Department of Justice for perpetuating the prejudice and stigma associated with mental disabilities, in a brief defending the Trump Administration’s discriminatory ban open transgender military service. DOJ submitted the argument in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in one of the lawsuits seeking to overturn the transgender military ban. The case was brought by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and National Center for Lesbian Rights.

The brief argues that transgender people should not be allowed in the military because of the existence of a diagnosis called "gender identity disorder.” It uses this argument as proof that transgender people are unfit for service. The diagnosis is an outmoded category that has been deleted by the American Psychiatric Association. The World Health Organization will soon follow the APA's lead in eliminating this diagnosis.

                  Statement by TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss  

“This DOJ brief is an affront to the thousands of transgender military personnel who have served or are currently serving our nation with honor and distinction. It is an attempt to use a medically disproven belief against people who are already marginalized and targeted for hatred, bullying and violence. The argument amounts to an incorrect interpretation of law and a lack of understanding of medical science. It is nothing more than the ideology of prejudice, masquerading as law and science, and being used to further stigmatize the transgender community. It is a shameful display of bigotry by our country’s highest law enforcement agency.

“The DOJ is using a dishonest argument, implying without proof, that that the existence of any medical diagnosis used to treat transgender people is sufficient to support a ban, though many transgender people never seek or receive such a diagnosis. It implies that the existence of any medical diagnosis automatically means that trans people cannot be excellent, honorably-serving soldiers. This is contradicted by evidence found in studies of transgender servicemembers by the U.S. military, and by the fact that 18 other countries permit transgender military service, with successful outcomes. We urge the court to swiftly deny the DOJ’s crude attempt to dismiss the serious constitutional concerns raised by the GLAD/NCLR lawsuit challenging this unlawful ban.”