This Week’s Developments in LGBTQ Nondiscrimination

January 4, 2019 • 1:57 pm

District court rules in favor of Trump’s ban on transgender troops; FFAA previews 2019 state legislative sessions; 2019 brings historic class of LGBTQ lawmakers to Washington

WASHINGTON – President Trump’s discriminatory transgender military ban remains blocked – despite a ruling from a district court of appeals today that lifts that district’s injunction on the ban. Three other nationwide injunctions remain in place, ensuring the ban does not take effect. Legislative sessions kick off next week in New York and Virginia, where lawmakers are expected to introduce legal protections for LGBTQ residents. And 2019 has ushered in a record number of LGBTQ lawmakers to Capitol Hill. Freedom for All Americans’ Weekly LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Update has all the latest developments that should be on your radar:

District Court Overturns Injunction Against Transgender Troop Ban:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has overturned a preliminary injunction issued by the D.C. District Court against implementation of the Trump Administration’s announced ban on military service by transgender individuals. The ruling has no immediate impact as three other federal courts have ruled in separate cases that the administration’s ban cannot move forward. The appeals court ruled that its decision is not a final judgment on the ban and that the administration should defer to military officials when ultimately determining rules for service. Broad consensus among active and former military leaders is that the ban is unnecessary and would not strengthen, but rather negatively impact U.S. armed forces. Freedom for All Americans’ Chief Legal Counsel, Jon Davidson released the following statement on the ruling:

Any steps toward banning qualified Americans who want to serve our country is dangerous, a slap in the face to their patriotism, and ultimately bad for our national security. In addition, transgender individuals have been serving openly for more than two years and the government failed to present any evidence whatsoever that allowing that to continue harms the public interest. The ruling is unlikely to significantly affect whether the Supreme Court grants the government’s pending motions to review the other preliminary injunctions or stay them.  The Court is scheduled to consider those motions on January 11th, and should do so based on the established standards for doing so regardless of the D.C. Circuit’s erroneous, brief, unsigned order today.

To get a better sense of how transgender Americans and service members experience discrimination every single day, please visit Faces of Freedom – a new LGBTQ movement-wide resource that elevates the stories of LGBTQ people and allies.
Stories of transgender service members include:

Regan Kibby

Kai Alexander

MoHogani Magnatek

Lindsey Muller

States Gear-Up for 2019 Legislative Session:
Legislative sessions begin Wednesday in New York and Virginia, where bills are expected to be introduced that will expand legal protections for those states’ LGBTQ residents. Freedom for All Americans anticipates New York’s Governor Cuomo will call for the passage of The Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (GENDA) during his state of the state address next week. And Equality Virginia will hold a community kickoff next week where advocates will deliver postcards to state lawmakers encouraging them to pass nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ residents. Legal protections passed in Virginia would be the first statewide measures of their kind. In New York, statewide nondiscrimination protections exist on the basis of sexual orientation, but not for gender identity.

In addition to monitoring legislative developments in New York and Virginia, FFAA is anticipating movement on several LGBTQ bills in other states. You can read our rundown previewing the 2019 legislative session here.

Record Number of LGBTQ Members are Sworn Into Congress:
A record number of openly LGBTQ people now serve in the U.S. Congress. In the U.S. Senate, Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona and an open bisexual was sworn in this week. Sen. Sinema is the first openly bisexual person to serve in the Senate, and the second openly LGBTQ person, alongside Senator Tammy Baldwin, who began her second term this week. In the U.S. House of Representatives eight members now identify as LGBTQ. Four members are incumbents and four are newly elected, including the first LGBTQ members representing Kansas and New Hampshire.

Faces of Freedom is a new resource that brings together powerful messengers and stories of discrimination, creating a one-stop resource for reporters, policymakers, advocates, and others who need to harness the power of storytelling and the diversity of the LGBTQ community. It includes more than 350 stories from nearly every state and will be continue to expand in the coming months. You’ll meet LGBTQ people who have faced discrimination, family members and friends who support their LGBTQ loved ones, and community members like business leaders and small business owners, people of faith and clergy, and Americans across the political spectrum who all support full equality under the law for LGBTQ people.

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