Trump approves new limits on transgender in military

25 March, 2018, 01:21 | Author: Inez Murphy
  • Munroe Bergdorf

On Friday evening, his favorite time to drop abominable news, Donald Trump issued a new memorandum that would ban nearly all transgender people from serving in the USA military, including the Coast Guard.

The Trump order disqualifies transgender individuals with a history of gender dysphoria, defined as "those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery". His push for the ban has been blocked by several legal challenges, and four federal courts have ruled against the ban.

There is also an exception for people now in the military who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria between the implementation of an Obama-era policy allowing transgender people to serve and the start of the new Trump administration policy.

Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said the new policy would not have an immediate practical effect as the Pentagon is obliged to continue to enlist and keep transgender people in accordance with the current law.

"This Trump-Pence plan categorically bans transgender people from service, with no legitimate basis", said Jennifer Levi, transgender rights project director for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.

The decision revokes a full ban that Trump issued last summer but disqualifies US troops who have had gender reassignment surgery, as recommended by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

"These documents set forth the policies on this issue that the Secretary of Defense, in the exercise of his independent judgment, has concluded should be adopted by the Department of Defense". "There is no evidence to support a policy that bars from military service patriotic Americans who are medically fit and able to deploy".

Trump's memorandum said the two cabinet secretaries recommended people diagnosed with gender dysphoria be barred from military service.

A 2016 study conducted by the government-funded RAND Corporation for the Pentagon estimated that almost 4,000 transgender troops were serving on active duty and in the reserves.

However, a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation found that there would be "minimal impact on readiness and health care costs" if the Pentagon allowed transgender people to serve (Mattis argued in his recommendations that the study design was flawed).

Transgender troops who started service under the Obama administration's policy are also exempted. Almost two-thirds (64%) of the public favor allowing transgender people to serve, while 30% oppose.

The American Civil Liberties Union reacted by saying that it is "transphobia masquerading as policy". They have before. But should that fail (let's not forget, Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced S.1820, a bill "to provide for the retention and service of transgender members of the Armed Forces", back in September of 2017.

The Justice Department said in a statement late Friday that it would defend the Pentagon's authority to "implement personnel policies they have determined are necessary to best defend our nation" and would ask the courts to lift all related preliminary injunctions.

"From the first impulsive tweet, this policy has clearly been driven by an extreme anti-LGBTQ agenda rather than what is in the best interests of our troops and national security", said Sarah McBride, national press secretary for Human Rights Campaign.

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