The US Supreme Court has lifted three of four injunctions that blocked the Department of Defense (DoD) from implementing changes to the military transgender policy. The court voted 5-4 to grant a Trump administration request to lift injunctions blocking the policy while challenges continue in lower courts. The four liberal judges on the court opposed the ruling. However, it noted that a stay on the rules will still remain in place until a decision from a Maryland circuit court.
The ban was first announced on Twitter by US President Donald Trump in July 2017, which stopped transgender Americans from serving in the military. Following the announcement, former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued interim guidance on transgender policy. According to the guidance, transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition and those who have a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria are disqualified from military service. The policy allowed currently serving service members who received a gender dysphoria diagnosis to serve in their preferred gender and continue to receive treatment for the diagnosed medical condition.
The changes were challenged in the courts and a stay was issued. The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) noted that an estimated 15,000 transgender people are currently serving in the US military. According to Department of Defence data analysed by the Palm Center, a public policy nonprofit, There are currently some 8,980 active duty transgender troops. The move is a reversal of an Obama administration policy that ruled transgender Americans could serve openly in the military as well as obtain funding for gender re-assignment surgery.