Published: Sun, March 25, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Timing is questioned after Trump orders Pentagon to ban transgender troops

Timing is questioned after Trump orders Pentagon to ban transgender troops

In a tweeted response to the president's announcement, Vote Vets reminded the Trump administration of the sacrifices that have been made by transgender Americans who have served in the military.

The White House issued the memorandum, which relied on recommendations from Defense Secretary James Mattis, and said that transgender individuals are "disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances". Trump had declared that he would revise former President Barack Obama's policy, which allowed transgender people to join the United States forces.

"In service to the ideological goals of the Trump-Pence base, the Pentagon has distorted the science on transgender health to prop up irrational and legally untenable discrimination that will erode military readiness", said Aaron Belkin, who has studied transgender issues for the Palm Center, a think tank that had worked with the Obama administration in repealing the previous ban.

As with Trump's various iterations of the Muslim ban, this new-and-improved version of the ban on transgender servicepeople is likely meant to stave off or address the current court challenges to the existing policy.

But the US Senate's top Democrat Chuck Schumer said the policy still amounted to a ban, calling it "yet another Trump-Pence decision meant to drive a wedge in our society".

The military could also keep those who identified themselves as transgender once inside the Armed Forces but do not require a gender change either.

Under the latest guidelines, the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits unless a medical provider certifies that they have been clinically stable in their preferred sex for 18 months, and are free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas.

Trump announced on Twitter in July that he was reversing a 2016 policy instituted by former President Barack Obama, saying the U.S.

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"Consistent with this new policy, we are asking the courts to lift all related preliminary injunctions in order to ensure the safety and security of the American people and the best fighting force in the world".

In a report to the president last month, the Department of Defense claimed that allowing people with a history of "gender dysphoria" to serve in the military could "undermine readiness" and "impose an unreasonable burden on the military" itself.

"This policy was reverse-engineered for the sole goal of carrying out President Trump's reckless and unconstitutional ban", the union said.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organisation, has denounced Mr Trump's "hastily tweeted troop ban" that has turned into official policy.

The study estimated that health care costs would rise $2.4 million to $8.4 million a year, representing an infinitesimal 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase in spending.

The White House said allowing transgender troops to serve "presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality", according to the AP. Almost two-thirds (64%) of the public favor allowing transgender people to serve, while 30% oppose.

Federal judges required the military to allow transgender recruits beginning January 1, and the Pentagon signaled in December that it would not stand in the way of the courts' rulings. They said they would continue to fight the policy in the courts.

It added: "What the White House released tonight is transphobia masquerading as policy, for the sole goal of carrying out President Trump's reckless and unconstitutional ban".

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