Federal judge says transgender people can enlist Jan. 1

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled Monday that the government must allow transgender people to enlist in the armed forces starting Jan. 1.

NBC OUT reported that District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly made the decision after the government asked if it could push back the deadline set by the Obama administration.


Last month, Kotar-Kelly issued a preliminary injunction that blocked the Trump administration’s plans to exclude transgender people from the military. She said the government had offered no solid evidence that showed why the ban was necessary.

“This is an important clarification because it means the military can’t do an end run around the judge’s decision,” said Jennifer Levi, of the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD, said about Monday’s order.

GLAD and The National Center for Lesbian Rights represent the five longtime transgender military service members who sued the government in August, claiming that Trump’s efforts to ban transgender people from military service was unconstitutional and denied them equal rights and due process.

Neither the Justice or Defense departments had returned comments to NBC OUT by Tuesday evening.