Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN: We Will Sue in a Heartbeat if Tweet Becomes Policy

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LGBT legal advocacy organizations vow to take immediate legal action if President Trump’s threat to ban transgender military service is adopted
July 26, 2017

(New York City, July 26, 2017) – Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN today promised to take immediate legal action to protect transgender service members and recruits should President Donald Trump follow through on his early morning tweet threatening to ban transgender military service.

“Transgender people have served our country honorably for years, making our military stronger and more inclusive. President Trump has shown that no one is safe from his administration’s attacks on LGBT people, not even those who risk their lives to defend our country,” said Jon W. Davidson, Legal Director and Eden/Rushing Chair at Lambda Legal. “If this disgraceful tweet actually becomes policy, we will sue in a heartbeat.”

"Military service is a profound, life-and-death commitment that requires faith in the chain of command all the way to the Commander-in-Chief. It undermines military readiness and effectiveness to have the President insert this sort of chaos into the service," says Matt Thorn, Executive Director of OutServe-SLDN. "We won't let discriminatory attitudes distort good policy. We will be in court to protect transgender service members, tweet or no tweet."

Lambda Legal has long fought for the rights of LGBT individuals in the United State to serve their country openly and proudly, including recent advocacy on behalf of LGBT service members and veterans and their families with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In the early 1990s, Lambda Legal successfully represented Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, a decorated 28-year veteran of the Army and National Guard, and Chief Nurse of the Washington State National Guard who had served in Vietnam, who was discharged for being a lesbian. Lambda Legal successfully challenged Cammermeyer’s discharge and she was reinstated (see here).  Lambda Legal’s first suit against the military for anti-LGBT discrimination was brought in 1975, on behalf of Vernon E. (“Copy”) Berg and resulted in his dishonorable discharge being overturned in 1978.


Contact Info

Tom Warnke, Cell: 213-841-4503: Email: twarnke@lambdalegal.org
Matt Thorn, Phone: 202-200-0153: Email: mthorn@outserve.org
Related Issues: Military, Transgender Rights