Friday, August 25, 2017

White House working on guidelines for banning transgender service members from the military

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 1:18 PM

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After President Donald Trump tweeted about a blanket ban on transgender service members last month, the future of transgender folks currently serving in the military, and those hoping to serve, was up in the air. Originally, the tweets suggested that all transgender people might be banned from service, but a recent memo gives Secretary of Defense James Mattis discretion when it comes to those currently serving.

However, should Mattis decide that current transgender service members are not “capable” of fulfilling their service (i.e. being deployed), then it seems he could extend the ban as per Trump’s original intent.

Of course, transgender service members have been deploying faithfully and openly since President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ash Carter lifted the ban on transgender service members last year, and serving closeted much longer than that. But in spite of a lack of evidence, the White House and the Pentagon seem to be of the opinion that the presence of transgender troops could be “disruptive.” Which basically means that cisgender troops might be uncomfortable with their presence.

The White House’s guidelines are currently pending legal review, but will most likely include instructions to cease admitting transgender people into the military, and cease paying for transition-related medical treatment.

For the estimated 2,450 active-duty transgender military members, this could mean remaining closeted and without medical care that, in many cases, is vital to a transgender person’s mental health.

Once the guidelines are finalized by Trump administration lawyers and officially handed off, the Pentagon will have six months to implement the restrictions.

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