Coast Guard Denies Transgender Military Ban

The Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, Admiral Paul Zunkunft has officially stated that the Coast Guard will continue allowing transgender individuals to serve unless an explicit ban is lawfully imposed disallowing them to do so. Admiral Zunkunft announced on Tuesday, April 17th that although the other four branches of the armed services have not yet reconciled their positions on the issue, the US Coast Guard is committed to continue allowing transgender members to serve.

Last year President Donald Trump attempted to ban transgender persons from serving in all branches of the military but implementation of that ban was halted by a number of court rulings. As a result the military had to lift the ban at the beginning of 2018. Last month the president again tried to put into place discriminatory policies targeting transgender service members and transgender people attempting to enlist in the armed forces.

A memo released by Trump at the end of March seeks to ban transgender individuals who require medications or surgery from qualifying for military service. The revised ban described in the recent memorandum states that transgender troops already serving in the military would be allowed to continue serving, but they could be forced to do so as their gender assigned at birth.

North Carolina State Representative, Democrat David Price called the subject of the memorandum, “an invented problem and a waste of time and dollars and military resources targeting these dedicated service members.” Admiral Zunkuft’s announcement that the Coast Guard will disregard the memo and continue to allow transgender people to serve was given as a response to Representative Price, who had asked what the Coast Guard’s stance on Trump’s memo would be.

Also in this week in April a United States Judge in Seattle, Washington has challenged the memorandum and has ordered President Trump to refrain from banning transgender troops in the armed forces because the policy appears to be unconstitutional. Judge Marsha Pechman was one of the four US judges who prevented Trump’s first attempted ban of transgender military service members issued late last year. According to Pechman, Trump’s revised ban, “threatens the very same violations,” as the previous one. The revised ban cannot take effect due to Judge Pechman’s ruling. Pechman has stated that, “Because transgender people have long been subjected to systematic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class. Therefore, any attempt to exclude them from military service will be looked at with the highest level of care.”  

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