July 26, 2017: President Trump tweets that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
August 9, 2017: NCLR and GLAD file Doe v. Trump, the first lawsuit seeking to stop the ban, challenging its constitutionality and requesting that the court issue a nationwide preliminary injunction to stop it from taking effect while the case is being heard in court.
August 25, 2017: President Trump issues a memorandum ordering then Secretary of Defense James Mattis to submit “a plan for implementing” the ban by February 21, 2018.
August 28, 2017: The ACLU files Stone v. Trump, challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban, in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. On this same day, Lambda Legal files Karnoski v. Trump, challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban, in the United States District Court for the District of Washington.
September 5, 2017: Equality California files Stockman v. Trump, challenging the Trump-Pence transgender military ban, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. NCLR and GLAD join the case October 2, 2017, and file a motion for preliminary injunction. The State of California joins the case as a plaintiff on Nov. 17, 2017.
October 30, 2017: The United States District Court for the District of Columbia rules that Doe v. Trump plaintiffs established a likelihood of success on their claim that President Trump’s ban violates equal protection, that plaintiffs would be irreparably harmed without a preliminary injunction to stop the ban, and that the public interest and balance of hardships weighed in favor of granting injunctive relief and temporarily halting the ban while the case is heard by the court.
November 21, 2017 – December 22, 2017: Preliminary injunctions are issued blocking the ban in Stone (Nov. 21); Karnoski (Dec. 11), and Stockman (Dec. 22).
January 1, 2018: After the Administration drops all attempts to block the date that had previously been set by the DOD for open enlistment to go into effect, transgender Americans are eligible to enlist in the U.S. military for the first time in history.
March 23, 2018: President Trump accepts the “Mattis Plan” and issues a memorandum “revoking” his August 25 Memorandum.
April 20, 2018: Defendants file motions to dissolve the nationwide preliminary injunctions enjoining the transgender military ban in Doe v. Trump; Stockman v. Trump, Karnoski v. Trump, and Stone v. Trump.
August 6, 2018: United States District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denies Trump administration motions to dismiss Doe v. Trump and to dissolve the preliminary injunction preventing the ban from going into effect.
August 27, 2018: Defendants file notice of appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals of Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s denial of their motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the transgender military ban. Parallel appeals are filed by the Administration in the 9th Circuit in both Karnoski v. Trump [April 30, 2018] and Stockman v. Trump [November 16, 2018]
October 29, 2018: A wide array of former military leaders, veterans’ and civil rights organizations, women’s groups, military scholars and historians, and states go on record opposing President Trump’s ongoing efforts to exclude transgender people from military service, in thirteen friend-of-the-court briefs filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
November 23, 2018: The Trump administration files petitions for cert before judgment in Doe v. Trump, Stockman v. Trump, and Karnoski v. Trump. They do not file in Stone v. Trump because the district court had not yet ruled on the Administration’s motion to dissolve the injunction.
November 30, 2018: Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denies the Trump administration’s motion to stay her preliminary injunction while the administration seeks cert from the Supreme Court.
December 13, 2018: The Trump administration files petitions asking the U.S. Supreme Court to lift the injunctions blocking the ban from taking effect if the Court declines to hear the cases this term.
December 24 & 28, 2018: Plaintiffs file briefs opposing the administration’s requests that the U.S. Supreme Court hear cases on the ban prematurely and that the Court lift the injunctions blocking the ban from taking effect while the cases continue.
January 4, 2019: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rules per curiam that the district court had improperly maintained the injunction first issued in October, 2017, in light of the subsequent issuance of the March 2018 “Mattis Plan.”
January 22, 2019 – 5 justices on the Supreme Court give a green light to the Trump administration to enact its transgender military ban temporarily, while the cases challenging it continue through the lower courts, by temporarily staying two of four nationwide injunctions that had been blocking the ban since late in 2017.
At the same time, the Court does not agree to the Trump administration’s request to leapfrog the usual judicial process by hearing the case against the ban in the current term. That allows all four of the cases to continue through the normal course in the federal district courts and courts of appeal.
February 27, 2019: A panel of transgender service members testify before the House Armed Services Committee in a historic hearing. Their testimony is further proof that this is a discriminatory ban on transgender people who are willing and able to serve their country.
March 7, 2019 The Maryland District Court issues a ruling in Stone v. Trump staying the preliminary injunction blocking the ban in that case, in accordance with the January 22 Supreme Court order.
March 8, 2019: Full opinions are issued from the D.C. Circuit in Doe v. Trump, lifting the original injunction issued in October, 2017, and instructing that the case proceed to further discovery in the District Court.
March 12, 2019: The Department of Defense issues guidance for enacting the transgender military ban beginning in April.
April 12, 2019: The Trump-Pence transgender military ban goes into effect. The ban prohibits openly transgender people from enlisting in the military and subjects active duty military service members who come out as transgender to discharge.
May 22, 2019: Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) introduces the Securing the Rights our Veterans Earned Act (SERVE Act) to ensure transgender service members discharged under the transgender military ban would be eligible for care from the VA. and requires the VA to provide health benefits to these troops if they obtain an “Other Than Honorable” or “Entry-Level Separation” discharge because of their gender identity.
June 14, 2019: The Ninth Circuit issues a decision in Karnoski v. Trump, sending the case back to the Washington District Court for further discovery. The ruling recognizes that the Mattis plan targets transgender people, and that the government faces an uphill battle in justifying it. On August 26, 2019, the Ninth Circuit orders that this ruling also applies to Stockman v. Trump, sending that case back to the District Court for the District of Central California for further discovery.
June 18, 2019: The U.S. House of Representatives passes an amendment to overturn Trump’s transgender ban. A companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
June 18, 2019: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (Republican) joins the governors of New Jersey, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington to allow transgender service members to continue to serve in their states’ Army National Guard.
August 20, 2019: A judge for the US District Court for the District of Maryland rules against the Trump Administration’s motions to dismiss the fourth lawsuit against the ban (Stone v. Trump). With this ruling, all four of the lawsuits are proceeding to discovery and trial.
September 13, 2019: In a discovery ruling in Doe v. Trump the DC District Court rejects the government’s claims that documents and information relating to the development of the Mattis Policy are privileged and rules that the plaintiffs are entitled to discovery on that process and on the government’s justifications for adopting a ban.