Pentagon officials announced that transgender people will not be allowed to enlist in the military for another six months.
Last year, Barack Obama’s Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that transgender people would be allowed to openly serve in the military. The policy allowed transgender people to correct paperwork and access medical care on October 1, 2016, and each branch of the military was supposed to come up with a plan for recruiting openly transgender people by July 1 of this year.
The Defense Department recently stated that the Army and the Marine Corps wanted a two-year delay on the July 1 deadline, but eventually agreed to seek a six-month delay with the chiefs of all of the branches of the military.
In a memo published by CNN, Defense Secretary James Mattis justified the delay. “We will use this additional time to evaluate more carefully the impact of such accessions on readiness and lethality,” he wrote. “This action in no way presupposes the outcome of the review.”
Mattis, who was appointed by Donald Trump, opposed ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the policy that prohibited out gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from joining the military. Mattis also opposes women and men having equal roles in the military.
Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, an LGBT organization that advocates for servicemembers, said in a statement, “It has been unequivocally proven that allowing qualified transgender people to serve openly strengthens our military and creates a more inclusive and diverse force. The issue has been thoroughly studied, and moving forward with this new recruitment policy is imperative in order for the military to be able to recruit the best talent our nation has to offer.”