Military retirees join NAACP in slamming Trump’s transgender ban

US Marines arrive as part of Operation United Assistance on October 9, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. (Bloomberg pic)

NEW YORK: Dozens of retired military and national security officers joined the NAACP and the American Medical Association in urging a federal appeals court to uphold a court order blocking President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.

In filings late Tuesday in the US Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the groups said Trump’s abrupt reversal in July 2017 of former President Barack Obama’s policy of inclusion contradicted past studies on the subject and mimicked earlier periods of discrimination against other groups in the military.

A friend-of-the-court brief by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Legal Defense Fund compared Trump’s ban on transgender military service to arguments made almost 70 years ago against service by African-Americans and against racially integrated military units.

The justifications the Trump administration cited to re-impose the ban on transgender soldiers are “almost identical to the justifications the military used to discriminate against Black soldiers more than half a century ago,” the civil rights group said.

Trump announced in July 2017, on Twitter, that transgender Americans would be barred from serving in the military “in any capacity.” That triggered at least four court injunctions, preventing the policy from taking effect while litigation proceeded. A March version of the ban, which Defense Secretary James Mattis said was crafted by military experts, would allow transgender people to serve openly in their “biological sex.” A federal judge put both versions of the ban on hold, triggering the appeal.