Protesters fought against the transgender military ban when it was first announced in July.
Protesters fought against the transgender military ban when it was first announced in July.
Image: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

In what is being hailed as a victory for the transgender community, a federal judge on Monday blocked part of President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.

The president made his ban, which came to life in a surprise tweet, official in July. His directive also prevented those serving from receiving gender-confirmation surgery paid for by their military benefits, unless doing so would harm individuals already transitioning.

While U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the military should return to the Obama-era policy of allowing transgender people to serve, she did not overturn Trump’s order to prevent health benefits from covering gender-confirmation surgery. Trump had pointed to the health benefits cost of trans service members as a reason for the ban, but that was slammed hard by opponents as the military spends five times more on Viagra than gender-confirmation surgery.

Here’s the full injunction:

Lambda Legal, who sued the government on behalf of six service members and three people who wanted to join, still has a case pending regarding the ban, which the organization claims is unconstitutional.

Most parts of the ban were set to take effect in 2018, but as Lambda Legal senior attorney Peter Renn said in a phone call, the ban was already causing immediate harm to those enlisted or planning to join the military.

“This decision makes clear the president’s ban is patent discrimination,” the lawyer said about the court’s block.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD, issued a statement about the ruling in favor of plaintiffs from their organization and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. GLAD, which also filed filed a lawsuit challenging the ban along with NCLR, called the decision a “complete victory.”

Other responses came in supporting the court’s decision on Twitter.

The Trump administration can still appeal the decision, which is a likely next step.

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