Metro Weekly

California court hears arguments against Trump’s trans military ban

California plaintiffs seek fourth injunction to stop Pentagon from forcibly discharging transgender troops

California AG Xavier Becerra – Photo: Office of the California Attorney General.

The California Attorney General’s Office and lawyers with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders appeared in federal court in California to argue for an order to stop President Trump’s transgender military ban from being enforced.

Judge Jesus Bernal, of the U.S. District Court for Central California, heard oral arguments on Monday in Stockman v. Trump, one of four lawsuits challenging the transgender ban. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Equality California, its members, and seven transgender plaintiffs, who argue that the ban is unconstitutional.

In November, the court granted California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s motion to intervene as a plaintiff in the case because California has a substantial interest in stopping the ban, as it compromises the state National Guard’s ability to recruit and retain the best talent that can be called upon in case of a natural disaster or civil unrest.

“Yesterday, we appeared in court with Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders to stand together against discrimination and inequality,” Becerra said in a statement. “In California, we must protect the rights of our 130,000 active duty military personnel and 56,000 members of the National Guard and Reserves. When we said we were ready to defend the rights of transgender service members,we meant it. Yesterday, we took our next step in doing just that. We are proud to be a co-plaintiff in this critically important lawsuit to defend the rights of Californians and our military.”

Shannon Minter, who also argued the case before the court, explained how the ban is hurting transgender service members and their families, and why the Pentagon must be stopped from trying to implement the ban.

“We are winning the battle against Trump’s ban, but there’s still a long fight ahead of us. Each additional federal court to issue a preliminary injunction helps bring us closer to an end to this nightmare for transgender troops and transgender Americans,” Minter said in a statement.

If Bernal issues an injunction when he makes his decision, it would mark a fourth victory for opponents of the ban. A federal judge in the District of Columbia previously issued an injunction to stop the Pentagon from implementing the new trans-exclusionary policy until the case is resolved in the courts. That same judge also rejected a request from the Trump administration to delay the Jan. 1 deadline by which the various branches must begin accepting transgender recruits who would otherwise be deemed qualified.

Two other judges, one in Maryland and another in Washington State, have also issued injunctions to stop the Trump administration from carrying out the ban and forcibly discharging transgender service members.

“Our transgender service members deserve the respect and support of their government as they put their lives on the line to protect our country,” Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur said in a statement. “We will continue to fight this ban as it brings unlawful discrimination into our military and jeopardizes the safety of its members.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at