In a statement late Friday, the White House attempted to disqualify from military service transgender persons "with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria" including people who "may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery...except under certain limited circumstances". Trump had declared that he would revise former President Barack Obama's policy, which allowed transgender people to join the USA forces.
The order has enraged the Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual and Transgender community.
The Pentagon has not said when the new rule is set to take effect, stating only that it will "continue to assess and retain transgender service members".
"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", Chad Griffin, the Human Rights Council president, said in a statement on Friday.
The military could also keep those who identified themselves as transgender once inside the Armed Forces but do not require a gender change either. 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.
In 2016, after careful and deliberate study, the Pentagon determined that the prohibition on open service by transgender people lacked any foundation and lifted the ban.
"This policy is a thinly veiled and feeble attempt by the Trump-Pence administration to justify the unnecessary discrimination of qualified patriots in order to advance their own personal agendas and in defiance of the administration's top military leadership".
According to poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, Americans strongly support allowing transgender people to serve in the US military. 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.
Anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 transgender people are now serving as active-duty and reserve service members. Almost two-thirds (64%) of the public favor allowing transgender people to serve, while 30% oppose.
Civil rights advocates said while some transgender service members might be permitted to continue to serve under the announced policy, the exceptions seemed unclear and the policy was likely to foster a hostile climate for those who seek to continue to serve. In a report released on Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wrote that the new policy would "place the Department of Defense in the strongest position to protect the American people, to fight and win America's wars, and to ensure the survival and success of our service members around the world".
Senior staff attorney for the ACLU Joshua Block said, "What the White House has released tonight is transphobia masquerading as policy".
"Currently serving transgender service members will continue to go to work every day as they have before contributing to the readiness and lethality of the force".
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