Throughout our nation’s history, bans on military service have been used to justify discrimination against Black people, women, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, and, most recently, transgender people. The LGBTQ community fought for decades to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which was finally repealed in 2010, and the ban on service by transgender people, which was lifted in 2016 under then Secretary of Defense Carter. When President Trump shocked the nation by reimposing a transgender ban in 2017, our movement sprang into action, bringing federal lawsuits, mobilizing transgender service members and allies, and mounting a vigorous public education campaign. Just a few days after taking office, President Biden lifted the ban, and transgender people are once again free to serve. This workshop will focus on the highlights of the legal battle to challenge Trump’s ban, how the lessons learned from that hard-won fight can be applied in other contexts, and what remains to be done to ensure that military service is truly open and equal for all.
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