Deese & Doe v. Esper

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Plaintiff Kevin Deese
Status: Open
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division
Issues: Anti-LGBT Rulings, Laws and Amendments, HIV, Military

Lambda Legal and Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Kevin Deese and John Doe (a pseudonym), who the Navy and Air Force refused to commission as officers based on their HIV-positive status after they graduated from the respective military academy for each branch of the Armed Services. In both situations, these now former Service Members had the support of their superiors and military healthcare providers to continue serving and to commission as officers. 

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The lawsuit challenges the Pentagon’s current policies preventing enlistment, deployment or commissioning as an officer if a person is living with HIV, and likely will also affect implementation of the new “Deploy or Get Out” policy unveiled by the Trump administration in February 2018.

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit on behalf of both men in the U.S. District Court for the District of OutServe-SLDN is an organizational plaintiff in this case to advance the interests of its members who are living with HIV and serving in the various branches of the military.