Published: Sun, March 25, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

Trump rolls out new transgender military ban

Trump rolls out new transgender military ban

US President Donald Trump late Friday, March 23, rolled back his blanket ban on transgender people serving in the military - but they will still face major restrictions in the American armed forces.

In October, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia temporarily blocked Trump's ban and said the reasoning behind it was most likely unconstitutional because it represented a "disapproval of transgender people generally".

Meanwhile, Trump's new order allows the defence secretary and the homeland security secretary to "exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals".

In a statement, the White House defended the ban as a common-sense way to "apply well-established mental and physical health standards-including those regarding the use of medical drugs-equally to all individuals".

Trump followed up with an August 25, 2017 memo banning transgender women and men from joining the military and giving Defense Secretary Mattis until February 21 to provide a recommendation on whether current transgender troops should be allowed to continue to serve.

"This is the same reckless ban that has been rejected by the federal courts, the American Medical Association, many bipartisan members of Congress, and most of the American people", said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Additionally, troops who haven't had gender reassignment surgery can stay so long as they have been "medically stable for 36 months consecutive months in their biological sex before joining the military and are able to deploy across the world". As a result, the transgender people had been allowed to join the military forces with effect from January 1, 2018.

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Trump announced on Twitter in July that he was reversing a 2016 policy instituted by former President Barack Obama, saying the U.S. In addition, the RAND study, on which the Obama administration based its policies, found that there were no adverse effects on military readiness after the acceptance of openly transgender troops in Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

"There is simply no way to spin it, the Trump-Pence Administration is going all in on its discriminatory, unconstitutional and despicable ban on transgender troops", HRC president Chad Griffin said.

The new policy was promptly assailed by congressional Democrats and civil rights groups.

"(The Pentagon) will continue to assess and retain transgender service members", Defense Department spokesman Major David Eastburn insisted. The study concluded that allowing transgender troops to serve would have "minimal impact on readiness and health care costs". "This is still a policy in search of a problem", said Natalie Nardecchia, a senior attorney with Lambda Legal. The Pentagon said on Friday it would continue to comply with current federal law.

Donald Trump maintains his intention to prohibit most transgenders from serving in the Army. Activist groups had anxious the administration could enact such strict enlistment and health care restrictions that it would become all but impossible for transgender troops to join or continue serving.

The White House said allowing transgender troops to serve "presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality", according to the AP.

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