The Trump administration is moving forward with plans to ban transgender people from serving in the military, well mostly. The follow up to his proposal last summer would still allow limited exceptions.
The memorandum filed Friday in a U.S. District Court in Seattle describes new policies written by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and states that transgender people are "disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances." The memo also goes into greater detail about the reasoning behind the decision and states:
"Transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria – individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery – are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."
Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/16963-Parents-Face-Losing-Custody-Of-Teen-For-Not-Allowing-Transgender-Hormone-Therapy">Parents Face Losing Custody Of Teen For Not Allowing Transgender Hormone Therapy</a>
Mattis also left some leeway for implementing the policy saying the ban is something that "should be adopted." Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will also offer some leniency when it comes to the Coast Guard. The White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee issued a statement on the matter saying the decision to implement the ban was the result of "extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans."
Huckabee went on to say, "This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards—including those regarding the use of medical drugs—equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen."
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Despite the move being the result of a careful and objective analysis, LGBT advocates were quick to condemn the measure. Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement, "There is simply no way to spin it, the Trump-Pence Administration is going all in on its discriminatory, unconstitutional and despicable ban on transgender troops."
American Military Partner Association president Ashley Broadway-Mack said, "The Trump-Pence administration’s continued insistence on targeting our military families for discrimination is appalling, reckless, and unpatriotic."
Additionally, the Palm Center, a group that promotes the study of LGBT people in the military, accused the Pentagon's research of having "distorted the science on transgender health to prop up irrational and legally untenable discrimination that will erode military readiness."
However, statistics show the reality to be much different. <a href="https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1530.html">A recent study</a> found there are an estimated 1,320 to 6,630 trans service members part of the active military of 1.3 million. That puts the percentage of transgender service members at less than 0.51%, hardly a figure that will "erode military readiness".
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