A federal judge has ruled against President Donald Trump's attempt to ban openly transgender people from serving in the military.
U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said in her ruling on Friday in Seattle that "... because transgender people have long been subjected to systemic oppression and forced to live in silence, they are a protected class."
Trump's efforts to reverse the Obama-era policy that would allow transgender troops to serve have been blocked repeatedly.
The judge also ruled that a preliminary injunction, which would allow transgender people to serve, would remain in place as the case moves forward against the president.
What's the story?
It all started in July when the president announced a ban on military service by openly transgender people.
In December, the court entered an injunction which prevented the military from implementing the ban.
Last month, Trump issued orders banning transgender people who require surgery or significant treatment, such as hormone therapy, from serving in the military, with an exception for select cases. Those already serving could continue as long as they don’t require such treatments.
“This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards — including those regarding the use of medical drugs — equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen,” the White House said in a statement March 23.
Pechman noted in the court documents that "biological sex" refers to the sex at birth and is "somewhat misleading."
"The Implementation Plan prohibits transgender people — including those who have neither transitioned nor been diagnosed with gender dysphoria — from serving, unless they are 'willing and able to adhere to all standards associated with their biological sex.' Requiring transgender people to serve in their 'biological sex' does not constitute 'open' service in any meaningful way, and cannot reasonably be considered an 'exception' to the Ban," the court documents said. "Rather, it would force transgender service members to suppress the very characteristic that defines them as transgender in the first place."