Details of President Trump’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the United States military are reportedly contained in a memo prepared by the White House, which will be presented to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis sometime this week.
The rules as outlined in the memo will deny future enlistments to all transgender Americans, and give discretion to the Secretary of Defense to remove those currently serving. Central to the criteria in Secretary Mattis’ decision will be a service member’s ability to deploy to training, combat, or other deployment.
The memo also directs the Department of Defense to stop funding medical treatments related to gender transitions for transgender personnel already serving. The plan is to go into effect within the next six months. The memo was first reported on by the Wall Street Journal.
Details on the trans ban announced by the President over a month ago via Twitter have been non-existent, with the Department of Defense caught unaware of the President’s proposed ban and directing all questions regarding the policy back to the White House. In the interim, guidance from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford has been to maintain the policy as established during the Obama administration, allowing transgender service members the ability to continue their service.
If the policy over removing a transgender service member from service based on their ability to deploy goes forward, it will almost certainly be challenged in court, as there are transgender troops currently forward deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world in support of military missions.
An estimate from the RAND Coporation commissioned by the Defense Department says there are between 2,000 and 11,000 active duty and reserve troops who are transgender.
The President’s proposed blanket ban on transgender military members has received bipartisan opposition, to include key Republicans like Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain, said “there is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity.”
Image courtesy of the Department of Defense