A federal court heard arguments in two cases were heard today (Sept. 14) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia asking to bar the Trump Administration and the Pentagon from discriminating against people living with HIV by denying them the opportunity to enlist, deploy or commission as an officer.

In Roe and Voe v. Esper, Lambda Legal and the Modern Military Association of America, with partner law firm Winston & Strawn, filed a lawsuit on behalf of two HIV-positive members of the U.S. Air Force who were given discharge orders. Current military policy is to discharge anyone who cannot deploy for 12 consecutive months and people with HIV are not considered deployable.

Despite being found fit, their discharge appeals were denied. Their case was filed anonymously to protect their medical privacy.

The same organizations along with Outserve-SLDN filed suit in another case of HIV discrimination. In Harrison V. Esper, the plaintiff was denied a promotion to officer and faces discharge from the D.C. National Guard because he has HIV.

Sgt. Nick Harrison is a veteran of two overseas combat zones but was denied a position in the Judge Advocate General because of the Trump era policy despite medical personnel recommendations to promote him.

— David Taffet