Deese & Doe v. Austin (formerly v. Esper)
Lambda Legal and Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Kevin Deese and John Doe (a pseudonym), who the Navy and Air Force refused to commission as officers based on their HIV-positive status after they graduated from the respective military academy for each branch of the Armed Services. In both situations, these now former Service Members had the support of their superiors and military healthcare providers to continue serving and to commission as officers.
The lawsuit challenges the Pentagon’s current policies preventing enlistment, deployment or commissioning as an officer if a person is living with HIV, and likely will also affect implementation of the new “Deploy or Get Out” policy unveiled by the Trump administration in February 2018.
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit on behalf of both men in the U.S. District Court for the District of OutServe-SLDN is an organizational plaintiff in this case to advance the interests of its members who are living with HIV and serving in the various branches of the military.
- August 2018: Lambda Legal files suit along with Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) (formerly OutServe-SLDN), along with co-counsel at Winston & Strawn LLP.
- September 2019: Victory! A federal district court denies a request by the Trump administration to dismiss the lawsuit. Kevin Deese and John Doe will have their day in court.