NJ defies Trump transgender ban — allows service in National Guard
TRENTON — New Jersey is opposing the Trump administration's ban on transgender men and woman enlisting in the military.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday said New Jersey will continue to allow transgender people to serve in the National Guard and will oppose the federal ban in court.
“As I have stated before, President Trump’s policy targeting transgender individuals who wish to serve in our military is abhorrent and un-American,” Murphy said.
“I am proud to join with governors in sister states, including California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington, in declaring firm opposition to this policy and announcing my intention to use every option available to allow transgender individuals to serve in the National Guard," he said. "Under my administration, New Jersey has joined the multi-state coalition that has urged the courts to strike down the transgender ban as unconstitutional, and we will continue to fight this bigoted policy and defend the rights of all New Jersey residents.”
An estimated 15,000 active and reserve service members could be at risk as a result of the ban, which went into effect last month and reversed an Obama-era policy.
The new policy likens gender dysphoria to a “condition that interferes with military service” like sleep walking, bed wetting and personality disorders.
Troops who already had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria can continue to serve while using their preferred gender and seeking treatment and surgery. But new transgender troops will not be allowed to enlist and current troops will not be allowed to transition and serve openly if they had not been diagnosed before April.
The military has explained that transgender troops can continue to serve as long as they do so while identifying with the sex they were assigned at birth.
The Department of Defense said the policy ensures that the military "maintains the highest standards necessary to achieve maximum readiness, deployability, and lethality."
Transgender advocates are fighting the policy in court.
The American Medical Association president last month also said that the military policy was "deficient" in medical science. And military leaders last year testified in Congress that they found no morale or unit cohesion problems with transgender troops.
Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, said the policy already has resulted in college students losing military scholarships.
"Gov. Murphy’s bold action today to protect transgender troops serving in the New Jersey Army National Guard is a critical defense against the president’s unconstitutional and discriminatory ban, and for now, it means brave transgender service members can get back to work defending our nation without fear of being discharged," Fuscarino said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.