Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Trump pulls back on transgender military ban

President Trump Makes Decision About Transgender Troops Draft-Dodger Trump Bans Transgender People Serving Their Country
Delia Stanley | 25 March, 2018, 01:22

In a series of Twitter posts in July, Trump announced that "the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military".

President Donald Trump has officially ordered to ban transgender people from serving in the military following up on controversial pledge in 2017 when he decided on reversing a policy put in place by the Obama administration.

A similar ban, which reversed a policy shift started under his predecessor, President Barack Obama, has previously been blocked by federal judges in four separate cases, and is now being challenged in court.

Among those critics was Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, who tweeted that "t$3 ransgender members of our military have done more to serve and protect this country than Donald Trump ever will".

Earlier Friday, Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said the announcement of a new policy would have no immediate practical effect on the military because the Pentagon is obliged to continue to recruit and retain transgender people in accordance with current law.

In February, the Pentagon confirmed to CNN that the first transgender person had signed a contract to join the U.S. military following a federal judge's ruling that said the military would have to accept transgender people.

The memo defined the transgender ban as applying to individuals or "those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery". "It's a gross mischaracterization of transgender people, and it's bad for our military".

The president signed on Friday a memorandum, veto, which has been frozen in the courts since last December, but refers to a new policy recommended by the Pentagon that also represents a serious blow to the weakest link in the country, the LGTB community.

"Transgender persons without a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria, who are otherwise qualified for service, may serve, like all other Service members, in their biological sex".

According to poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, Americans strongly support allowing transgender people to serve in the US military.

Four federal courts have already issued preliminary injunctions in cases filed by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights in Washington, D.C.; the American Civil Liberties Union and Covington and Burling LLP in Maryland; Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN in Washington; and Equality California in California. There are over 1,300,000 active duty personnel of the U.S. military, according to July 2017 data from the Department of Defense.

The White House had said it would comply with court orders in favor of transgender troops and let the military proceed with accepting transgender recruits starting on January 1.

An official statement from the White House claimed the policy was "developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans".

The number of transgender troops among America's approximately 1.3 million active duty service members is fairly small, with estimates topping out at 15,000.

But rather than addressing that narrow issue, Trump opted to upend the entire policy on transgender service members.

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