The United States Department of Justice filed an appeal on Monday after a federal judge ruled that the Donald Trump administration must accept transgender military recruits from January 1, CNN reported. “The government seeks a stay pending appeal of the portion of the injunction concerning accessions,” government lawyers said in the plea.
The judge in the District of Columbia on Monday ruled against the government’s decision, announced in July, to stop recruiting transgender people to the military. “The court is not persuaded that defendants will be irreparably injured by meeting the New Year’s Day deadline,” US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said.
The judge had first passed the order in October, but the government had asked her to put it on hold. The judge, however, rejected the request on Monday. With this, three federal judges have delivered verdicts against the policy change, AP reported.
Pentagon spokesperson Major David Eastburn told AP that the enlistment of transgender recruits would begin next month. However, he added, under the new guidelines the Defence Department can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition, and those who had undergone reconstruction.
But such recruits will be admitted into the military if a medical provider certifies that they have been clinically stable in their preferred sex for 18 months and do not suffer from significant distress or social and occupational impairment.
In November, a federal judge in Baltimore had issued a preliminary injunction that prevented the administration from even denying funding to transgender military personnel for sex-reassignment surgeries, The Washington Post had reported.
In 2016, former Defence Secretary Ash Carter had ended a longtime ban on openly transgender people serving in the US military. The Pentagon had said transgender individuals could begin enlisting from 2017 and that the military would take up the medical costs of gender reassignment surgery for current service members who wanted to opt for it.