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Federal judge in Baltimore considers whether to freeze Trump ban on transgenders in the military

Tim Prudente, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

Joshua Block, an ACLU attorney, argued the looming ban had already harmed transgender service members.

"It puts a target on their backs and singles them out as unworthy to be there and unwanted," Block told the judge.

Trump announced his ban in August, and he established Jan. 1 as the day the military would roll back an Obama administration policy allowing transgender people to serve openly. Trump also established March 23, 2018, as a cutoff for service members to undertake sexual reassignment surgeries on their health plans.

"Except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex," the president ordered.

Such policies would affect a tiny fraction of the 1.3 million service members.

A RAND Corp. study last year estimated the number of transgender service members between 1,320 and 6,630 -- less than 1 percent of the military.

Last week, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., granted a similar request from plaintiffs seeking to halt Trump's ban. Justice Department attorneys said they might appeal in D.C.

A similar injunction in Maryland could help advocates drum up more support against the president's ban, said Block, the ACLU attorney.

Garbis didn't say Thursday when he would rule on the injunction request.

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