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Local transgender community applauds ruling against Trump's ban on military service

File photo. Cathy Serino, a transgender veteran, served 12 years in the United States National Guard. She now lives in Columbia, Missouri.
Brit Hanson | St. Louis Public Radio
Cathy Serino, a transgender veteran who lives in Columbia, Missouri, served 12 years in the United States National Guard. She is seen here marching for transgender rights on July 30, 2017.

The St. Louis transgender community and others are cheering a ruling that blocks President Donald Trump’s attempt to ban trans people from serving in the military.

Monday’s decision by a federal court judge in Washington, D.C. will allow transgender people to continue serving for the foreseeable future.

It’s a notable rebuke against the Trump administration, said Cathy Serino, a transgender woman who spent 12 years in the National Guard.

“It shows the administration can’t just pick a segment of the population and target them,” Serino said.

Not the ‘last we’ll hear of this’

Serino, of Columbia, Missouri, was shocked and angry over Trump’s recent attempt to keep transgender people out of the military.

“We were really starting to feel like we were getting run over by a train that was picking up speed, coming downhill,” she said.

Serino hopes the ruling will also ward off further efforts to erode transgender rights and visibility. 

“The next step would have been to remove transgender people from all aspects of public life,” Serino said. “And that would filter down into the private sector.”

Serino is still on guard for what might happen next in the current political climate.

“I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear of this,” she said.

Steph Perkins has been executive director of PROMO since February 2016.
Credit Provided | PROMO
Steph Perkins has been executive director of PROMO since February 2016.

Monday’s ruling comes at a time when transgender rights, overall, are under attack, according to Steph Perkins, executive director of PROMO, a statewide organization dedicated to LGBTQ equality.

“It’s decisions like this that show that, in the end, we will get equal rights for transgender people whether those are service members or people in the general public,” Perkins said.

Monday’s ruling let stand a portion of Trump’s memorandum that prevents the military from paying for specific medical procedures for transgender people.

The Trump challenge came only a year after the Pentagon lifted a banagainst transgender people serving in the military.

Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.