The White House announced it has revoked the president’s ban on transgender service members serving in the military. Instead, a new policy will replace it – and while it allows a few people to serve, it’s just bad.
The new policy revokes the ban President Trump arbitrarily tweeted last year, surprising military leadership at the time.
The White House said the policy will say “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the policy was “developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans.”
According to a Pentagon memo about the policy, exceptions include people who have been “stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession,” service members who “do not require a change of gender” and troops who started serving under the Obama administration’.
“This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards — including those regarding the use of medical drugs — equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen,” Sanders said.
Trump claimed to have consulted “with my Generals and military experts” during the Twitter thread. Reports have suggested Trump did not consult Defense Secretary James Mattis, who was on vacation at the time of the Tweet storm, nor other senior officials.
Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford was revealed in a report by BuzzFeed News to have called the move “unexpected” and he stated his intention to tell Congress he was “not consulted.”
“This decision is an insult to our brave transgender service members and all who wear our nation’s uniform,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said. “Instead of fulfilling his oath to protect the American people, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are putting our nation’s security at risk and shoving real American patriots back in the closet.”
The administration’s attempts to block transgender people from serving have been thwarted by four different judges, and on January 1 it was forced to allow openly trans soldiers to enlist.
“The Trump-Pence Administration continues to double down on its cruel and unconstitutional ban on transgender troops,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride.
“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. Transgender people are enlisting and serving with distinction right now, and there is no legitimate reason to change that.
“Moreover, releasing this news under cover of darkness late on a Friday night means thousands of transgender troops will wake up tomorrow with their lives turned upside down. This couldn’t be more cowardly or wrong.”
Pentagon spokesman US Army Maj. Dave Eastburn told CNN, the military “will still comply with federal court rulings and continue to assess and retain transgender service members.”