Late last night the Los Angeles Blade‘s Karen Ocamb reported that Donald Trump’s tweets calling for a ban on transgender people in the military have taken the first step toward becoming law.
As noted by The Guardian, Trump’s declarations on Twitter don’t have any legal power. But the content of those tweets has been made into “A Guidance Policy for Open Transgender Service Phase Out” by White House staff and the White House Counsel approved the policy as legal “guidance” yesterday.
An unnamed source quoted by Ocamb said, “The administration want[s] to get rid of transgender servicemembers as fast as they can.” The document says that the military should encourage early retirement and fire transgender people up for promotion in order to purge the military of the estimated 15,000 transgender people working for it.
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 their 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 announced that the chiefs of the service branches were seeking a six-month delay on allowing transgender people to enlist.
The current Defense Secretary, James Mattis, opposed ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and allowing women an equal role in the military.
The guidance does not mention transgender servicemembers who are currently serving in combat. It is in the process of being sent to the Defense Department, according to Ocamb’s sources.