By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The United States Supreme Court has given the Trump administration the green light to proceed with plans to bar certain transgender people from serving in the military.

The courts are reversing an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender people to serve.

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The updated policy is not a blanket ban, but it does bar transgender people from service who seek, or have undergone, gender transition steps.

Minnesota has more than half a dozen transgender soldiers serving in the National Guard. Most began serving openly in 2016, when then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter lifted the ban on allowing transgender troops to serve.

“Just because we are trans, doesn’t mean we can’t perform our duties,“ said Sgt. Sebastian Nemec.

Sgt. Nemec was deployed to Kuwait in 2014 as a woman, but now serves in the guard as a man.

WCCO spoke to Sgt. Nemec two years ago.

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“If you are able to do your job and meet all the military requirements, why should the military turn away someone?” Sgt. Nemec said.

When learning about the high court’s decision, Sgt. Nemec issued a statement to WCCO saying, “If the new policy is implemented, I believe I will be able to continue to serve because I will be grandfathered in.”

The Department of Defense says, “As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity.”

DOD’s proposed policy is not a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that DOD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world.

For now, the Minnesota National Guard says it will continue to allow transgender soldiers to serve until the DOD’s new policy is defined and implemented. Until then, Sgt. Nemec says he will “continue to work hard in the military school he is currently at, and develop as a non-commissioned officer, then return to his full-time position and continue to grow as a federal technician in the Minnesota National Guard.”

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The Supreme Court split 5-4 along ideological lines to allow the policy to take effect, while legal challenges continue.

Reg Chapman