Chief Petty Officer Brock Stone

A federal court in Baltimore has agreed to the ACLU’s request to completely halt implementation of Trump’s directive banning transgender men and women from serving in the military as the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the ban moves forward.

The preliminary injunction means that Trump cannot force the military to kick out trans men and women currently serving, the military cannot prohibit transition-related surgery for those who are already serving and the military cannot keep openly trans people from enlisting.

In ruling that the ban likely violates the federal constitution, the court noted, “A capricious, arbitrary and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy changes.”

Joshua Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project, called the injunction “a victory for transgender service members across the country.” He added, “We’re pleased that the courts have stepped in to ensure that trans service members are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

The ACLU filed asked for the injunction in September, arguing that the ban violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process by singling out transgender individuals for unequal and discriminatory treatment. The lawsuit also argues that the ban discriminates based on sex and transgender status and that the ban is based on uninformed speculation, myths and stereotypes, moral disapproval, and a bare desire to harm this already vulnerable group.

The ACLU’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of the ACLU of Maryland and six current members of the armed forces who are transgender: Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Senior Airman John Doe, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert, Staff Sergeant Kate Cole, and Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker.

The plaintiffs are represented by the ACLU, the ACLU of Maryland, and Covington & Burling LLP.