Sued yet again

Equality California has joined two California residents who wish to serve in the military and a group of transgender service members who are currently serving in a lawsuit filed yesterday against the Trump administration.

The plaintiffs in the new lawsuit include Aiden Stockman, 20, of Yucca Valley, who has identified as a transgender male since the eighth grade; and Tamasyn Reeves, 29, who first attempted to join the Navy when she was blocked by the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that banned gay people from serving openly in the military.

Stockman had been preparing to enlist in the Air Force and worries that Trump’s order will prevent him from joining the military. He delayed enlisting last year because he wanted to complete a double mastectomy before joining the Air Force, the lawsuit says.

I’m in physical good shape, nothing will hold me back from excelling in a branch, it bums me out.

--Stockman

The Equality California lawsuit. filed in the US District Court for Central California, joins similar complaints by the ACLU in Marlyand, Lambda Legal in Washington State, as well as the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) in Washington, D.C.

This action, brought on behalf of transgender individuals, seeks to ensure that all qualified Americans have an equal opportunity to serve in the United States military.

--the lawsuit

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Army Sgt. Jaquice Tate, a military police officer who served in the armed forces since 2008; an Army specialist; an Air Force staff sergeant who is stationed overseas; and an airman from California who has served in the military since 2012.

I want everyone to know that money is not the reason for any of this on my end, this is solely to show that many of us are capable of accomplishing the military’s mission and have been doing so for a long time.

--Sgt. Tate

Aside from Tate, the enlisted military service members are identified in the complaint as John or Jane Doe because they fear professional retaliation for joining the lawsuit.

The cost of providing necessary health care for transgender members of the service was insignificant and obviously there was no impact on deployments or military readiness.

A potential surgery is “no different than any other kind of short-term health condition that all members of the service have from time to time.

--Rick Zbur, Equality California

California is the state with the largest LGBTQ community. We’re also the state with most LGBTQ people serving in the military and obviously, a state in which are members are really harmed by this directive. So we decided we wanted to bring a suit of our [800,000] members that are effected by this ban. We thought It was important that there be a case in California.

The cases seek to block the [Trump] order. The order is one that doesn’t give the military discretion about whether to allow service of transgender people in the military, despite some of the communications that have come out by (Defense Sec) Gen. James Mattis that appear to indicate that there is some discretion. In fact, the President’s directive leaves no discretion to the military and requires that they take action to discharge members of the military currently serving and to also [blocks] enlistment of people that would want to serve and have taken steps to join the military. And it prohibits medical care that’s necessary for transgender servicemembers. So our case raises a number of claims that the order violates the Constitution of the United States and is obviously motivated by animus towards transgender people and on a variety of Constitutional grounds, seeks to block the order.

--Zbur

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