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Federal Judge: Trump Administration Can’t Implement Transgender Military Ban Due To Injunction



The Trump Administration erroneously claimed that it could fully implement the admin’s transgender troops ban, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her latest decision issued Tuesday.

The opinion chided the Trump Administration, stating that an injunction put into place by Kotelly in 2017, and fully remains in effect, counter to Trump’s claims otherwise.

“Defendants were incorrect in claiming that there was no longer an impediment,” says Kollar-Kotelly’s notice in US District Court in Washington, DC. “Defendants remain bound by this Court’s preliminary injunction to maintain the status quo.”

Today’s notice, written by Judge Kollar-Kotelly, settles the argument that the trans military ban injunction is lifted.


The Trump Administration released a memo last week asserting that it planned to enact the ban in April after the Justice Department falsely said in a court filing “there is no longer any impediment” that stopped them from doing so.

“We are grateful for the district court’s clarity in stating, unequivocally, that the injunction against the transgender military ban remains in place,” Jennifer Levi, an attorney for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, a group representing the challengers, told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday.

“Plaintiffs will continue to challenge the government’s efforts to reinstate an unfair and discriminatory policy against transgender people,” Levi added. “And, for now, the military cannot take any adverse action against transgender troops or recruits who meet all current standards of service.”

However, the reality of whether the timeline for the trans military ban implementation is as muddied as it ever was. Kollar-Kotelly’s case is one of four different cases where judges issued nationwide injunctions against the transgender military ban, blocking it from being enacted. The US Supreme Court lifted three of those nationwide injunctions, but left the DC court nationwide injunction in place.

“On October 30, 2017, this Court ordered Defendants to maintain the status quo as it relates to the accession and retention of transgender individuals in the military,” she said. “That preliminary injunction remains in place until the D.C. Circuit issues its mandate vacating the preliminary injunction.”

The plaintiffs in Doe v. Trump have until March 29 to request a rehearing en banc at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The timeline for the injunction to remain in place could be altered or expanded.

Read the full response from Judge Kollar-Kottely in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to the Trump Administration below:

Developing story, more updates to come…





Marriage equality is now law in Costa Rica.

The country became the first in Central America on Tuesday to legally recognise same-sex marriage.

“Today, Costa Rica officially recognizes same-sex marriage,” President Carlos Alvarado Quesada wrote on Twitter.

“Today we celebrate liberty, equality and our democratic institutions. May empathy and love be the compass that guide us forward and allow us to move forward and build a country that has room for everyone.”

The move to marriage equality follows an August 2018 ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court, which ruled that laws preventing same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.

The Court gave the legislature 18 months to enact marriage equality, or have the ruling recognizing same-sex marriages automatically go into effect once the deadline expired.

Costa Rica’s decision also follows an opinion issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in January 2018. The Central American country had asked the court to determine whether it was obligated to extend property rights to same-sex couples.

LGBTQ advocacy organizations celebrated the move.

“Costa Rica is celebrating today: marriage equality has become a reality in the country – the first one in Central America!” the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World) said. “We rejoice with you: congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it happen!”

The Human Rights Campaign also cheered the decision, though it added that more work needed to be done to achieve marriage equality around the world.

“Today, Costa Rica has made history, bringing marriage equality to Central America for the first time,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement. “Costa Rica’s LGBTQ community has worked tirelessly for years to make today a reality. This victory is theirs, and it inspires the entire global LGBTQ community to continue fighting to move equality forward.”

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Grammy-Winning Singer/Songwriter Sam Smith Comes Out As Gender Nonbinary




(NBCOut) — Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sam Smith has come out as gender nonbinary.

“I’m not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between,” Smith said Friday on actor Jameela Jamil’s new Instagram show, “I Weigh Interviews.”

Smith said when he saw the words “nonbinary” and “genderqueer” and heard people speak about these identities, which are used to describe those who identify as neither exclusively male nor female, he thought, “F–ck, that’s me.”

While many nonbinary and gender-nonconforming individuals prefer to use the gender-neutral pronouns “they” and “them,” several news reportsclaim Smith still prefers male pronouns, like “he” and “him.”

While this is the first time Smith has explicitly identified as nonbinary, the performer has previously talked about his gender identity lacking a label. In an October 2017 interview with The Sunday Times, Smith said, “I don’t know what the title would be, but I feel just as much woman as I am man.”

In his conversation with Jamil, Smith said he came out as gay when he was 10 and stopped wearing male clothing when he was 16, adding that he would wear fur and makeup to school.

“I’ve always been very free in terms of thinking about my sexuality, so I’ve just tried to change that into my thoughts on gender as well,” he explained.

During his “I Weigh Interviews” appearance, Smith also discussed his ongoing body-image struggles. Though he said he’s achieved greater self-acceptance over the years, he said he has “always had a war between my body and my mind.” He revealed that he had liposuction when he was 12 after a doctor discovered he was developing breasts because his body was storing high levels of estrogen in his chest.

Lee Airton, an assistant professor of gender and sexuality studies at Queen’s University and author of the book “Gender: Your Guide,” told NBC News that it’s “wonderful that folks in the public life can come out as they are.” However, Airton stressed that nonbinary people have always existed.

“There are nonbinary people in all walks of life, in every position you can think of,” Airton said. “People might feel being nonbinary is a new thing, but it’s a re-emergence.”

Smith is not the only celebrity to identity as nonbinary. “Billions” star Asia Kate Dillon, “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant Valentina also identify as nonbinary.

A growing number of states across the U.S. now legally recognize nonbinary gender identities on official documentation. At least eight states and Washington, D.C., offer a gender-neutral option on driver’s licenses and state-issued ID cards, while at least five permit gender-neutral birth certificates.

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Transgender Military Ban

Trump Admin Ready To Implement Transgender Military Ban, One Injunction Still Blocks The Ban




(Advocate) — The Trump administration is ready to move forward with its transgender military ban, but LGBTQ advocates say one impediment remains in place.

When the Supreme Court ruled in January that the ban could go into effect while lawsuits against it are heard by lower courts, it struck down two injunctions blocking the ban. However, two other injunctions remained. A federal judge in Maryland lifted one of them Thursday. But lawyers representing transgender military members say the fate of the other injunction is undecided.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in early January struck down an injunction issued by a district court judge in the case of Doe v. Trump, one of four suits challenging the ban, but it did not issue a signed ruling until Friday. Lawyers for the trans troops said they have 21 days after that to seek a review by the entire appeals court, known as an en banc review. But the Trump administration said the injunction is already lifted.

“The government is wrong,” Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told the Washington Blade Friday, after the administration announced its plan to proceed with the ban. “The injunction remains in effect until the mandate [the final order] issues, and that clearly has not happened. The Court of Appeals has gone out of its way to give the plaintiffs an opportunity to seek rehearing en banc before the mandate issues and the injunction is dissolved.”

The Department of Justice filed a legal brief Friday saying that in light of the Maryland judge lifting his injunction and the D.C. Appeals Court decision in January, “there is no longer any impediment to the military’s implementation of the Mattis policy.” Mattis is former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who last year crafted a memo outlining the administration’s justifications for the ban, which Donald Trump originally announced via Twitter in 2017.

The brief also said Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will issue a “directive-type memorandum” to implement the ban “in the near future.” The memorandum will take effect 30 days after it is released.

Read the DOJ brief filed below:

The Blade sought further comment from the Justice and Defense departments late Friday, but they have so far not responded.

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