Transgender

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

President Trump's would-be ban on transgender service members in the military has been blocked from going into effect for the foreseeable future.

A U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C., decided on Monday that trans members of the military have a strong case that the president's ban would violate their Fifth Amendment rights. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly granted a preliminary injunction to keep the policy from going into effect while the court case moves forward.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is leaving an Obama-era policy on transgender military service members largely intact, saying he needs input from an expert panel to determine the best way to implement President Trump's ban that would keep transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

Trump barred transgender would-be recruits from signing up, but he gave Mattis discretion to decide the status of transgender people who are already serving.

Updated at 7:25 p.m.

President Trump has signed a memo implementing his new policy on transgender people serving in the armed forces.

A senior White House official told reporters that no transgender individuals will be allowed to join the armed services unless and until the secretary of defense and secretary of homeland security recommend otherwise.

Five openly transgender members of the U.S. military are suing President Trump and other leaders of the U.S. government over Trump's declaration, over Twitter, that trans people will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. The suit alleges that Trump's directive is "arbitrary and capricious," unconstitutionally depriving the service members of due process.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

About 20 people gathered on the steps of Key West City Hall Thursday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump's declaration that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military.

Mark Ebenhoch organized the protest. He spent 23 years in the Marines and he said local elected officials should take a public stand.

"You need to speak out and say, 'It's wrong.' Whether or not you voted for Trump makes no difference," Ebenhoch said. "It is wrong, period, and you need to say so. Because silence basically is condonement."

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The nation's highest-ranking military officer said Thursday that the Defense Department was making "no modifications" to current policy regarding transgender service members until President Trump gives more direction.

Updated: 9:27 a.m.

President Trump's announcement that he wants to ban transgender people from serving in the military could mean a historic reversal in the Pentagon's long-term trend of lowering barriers to service.

Or it could be a speed bump on a course the Defense Department was already following.

The question in Washington following Trump's post on Twitter Wednesday morning was: Which will it be?

Almost no one other than Trump himself had any idea what he intended when he wrote this:

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced that transgender individuals will no longer be allowed to serve in the military.

In his tweets, Trump wrote the military would be burdened with high medical costs and that transgender people would be a disruption.

A federal court in Mississippi handed down a 49-year prison sentence on Monday to Joshua Brandon Vallum, the first person prosecuted under the Hate Crimes Prevention Act for targeting a victim because of gender identity.

Vallum had pleaded guilty last year to the 2015 assault and murder of Mercedes Williamson, a 17-year-old transgender girl whom he says he once dated.

When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who's already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

The Associated Press has tallied up business lost in North Carolina because of the controversial "bathroom bill," and estimates the total cost is at least $3.76 billion over 12 years.

That estimate is probably low, the wire service says.

The Trump administration is rescinding protections for transgender students in public schools.

The move by the Justice and Education departments reverses guidance the Obama administration publicized in May 2016, which said a federal law known as Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

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In a surprise announcement, the Boy Scouts of America said that it will begin accepting transgender boys who want to join its scouting programs.

The Scouts' policy change came in a written and video statement released by Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh. He said that for more than a hundred years the Scouts used the information on an individual's birth certificate to determine a boy's eligibility to join its single gender programs.

Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida is expanding its services for transgender people.

It will now offer hormone replacement therapy for those who want to transition genders. This will start in early October.   

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