Beginning on Monday, January 1, transgender individuals are now allowed to join the U.S. military, after the Pentagon was forced to comply with a federal court ruling issued last month. During the summer, President Trump went to Twitter to declare that transgender individuals would not be allowed in the military “in any capacity” because of the high medical costs and disruption of the normal deployment schedule.
In December, the Pentagon began preparing how to let transgender individuals join the military, using court-ordered guidelines issued by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter in 2016 when he lifted the ban on transgender service members in the military.
The Pentagon’s compliance on Monday only applies to allowing transgender individuals seeking to join the military. Separate court actions have temporarily halted the implementation of the ban on current transgender service members set to take place this spring.
Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told ABC News on Friday that the panel of experts established by Defense Secretary James Mattis will continue and provide a recommendation to the secretary, who will then report to the president by March 23 when an implementation plan is supposed to go into effect.
Under the guidelines effective Monday, applicants will be allowed to join the military if a medical provider certifies they have been stable without “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” for 18 months.
Also included in the guidelines, a licensed medical provider must certify that the candidate for military service has completed all medical treatment associated with gender transition, has been stable in the preferred gender for 18 months, and if presently receiving cross-sex hormone therapy post-gender transition, the individual has been stable on such hormones for 18 months.”
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