Wednesday, August 30, 2017

James Mattis puts stay on transgender military ban, pending study

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 10:53 AM

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In this weeks’ Queer & There, we heard from a transgender veteran who spoke out in opposition to President Trump’s ban on transgender people entering or serving in the U.S. Military.

Tuesday night, after the Independent went to press, news broke that Secretary of Defense James Mattis had put a “freeze” on the ban, pending a six-month study and input from a panel of experts. The exact makeup of that panel is as yet uncertain, though one might hope transgender military personnel may be involved in the process.

While Mattis’ decision to delay implementation of the ban was lauded by those who oppose it, the Washington Post pointed out in a Wednesday report that, in reality, Mattis was just following orders. The text of the White House directive clearly states that implementation must occur by February of 2018. Moreover, it reads:

As part of the implementation plan, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military. Until the Secretary has made that determination, no action may be taken against such individuals under the policy set forth in section 1(b) of this memorandum.

And while an extensive study on this matter (conducted by the RAND Corporation) has already determined that the effect of transgender service members on military readiness and budget would be negligible, it seems the upcoming six months of study and deliberation will yield final results.

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