Recent News

The Retriever (UMBC news site): Maryland Attorney General joins opposition to ban of transgender individuals in the military

12.08.2017

By Zachariah Tucker (10/27/2017)

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has joined a multi-state team of 15 other attorney generals in opposing President Trump’s plan to ban transgender individuals from openly serving in the military.

The coalition of attorney generals argued in their amicus brief — a complaint that does not represent a party in a case — that the ban is unconstitutional, contradicts interests of national defense and harms the transgender community.

The brief references a lawsuit from eight transgender members of the Air Force, Coast Guard, Army, United States Naval Academy and the ROTC program at the University of New Haven. According to a press release from Brian Frosh, the eight transgender members’ lawsuit, “Doe v. Trump, was brought by LGBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.”

The suit was filed after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was instructed by President Trump to ban transgender individuals from joining the military and halt the use of federal funds to pay for sexual reassignment surgeries and medication of current members unless it was deemed that their lives were in danger.

The case is currently pending in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

This refusal of medical care to those already serving has been, in particular, heavily criticized, as military members have been able to get elective surgery (including cosmetic) fully covered if they claimed it to be impacting their mental state and/or mission.

The ban now leaves many in limbo, as they are unable to complete the necessary procedures to finish their transition.

Carlos Turcios, Program Associate for Diversity and Inclusion at Student Life’s Mosaic Center, had this to say about the initial reaction to the ban: “I think the staff at the Mosaic Center would be disappointed in any policy that becomes exclusionary to any group, including exclusion based upon gender identity and expression.”

He reflected the concerns of the attorney generals in alienating potential service members, “I will definitely say that there are always LGBTQ+ identified people that are interested in joining the military just as there are straight, cisgender people wanting to join.”

In response to the amicus brief itself, students expressed frustration that it had taken so long for action against the ban, but were not surprised.

John Platter, sophomore psychology major and the Social and Membership Director of the LGBTQ Student Union, expressed a strong pride in being from Maryland and his grandparents having served in the military. However, he expressed a disappointingly official opposition to the President’s transgender ban that “took a long time.”

Both junior Dylan Dickerson-Evans, biology and pre-physical therapy major, and freshman Ethel Bowmaster, computer science major, brought up having parents or cousins in the military. Dickerson-Evans echoed similar sentiments to the eight plaintiffs from Doe v. Trump: “anyone who wants to fight, should be allowed to fight.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated that Jane v. Doe had been dismissed. It has been corrected, as the case has not been dismissed and is currently pending in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

© 2017 Newscore