On Friday, U.S. President, Donald Trump, commanded the Pentagon to announce an indefinite ban on transgenders joining the military. However, he seemed to leave the possibility open on allowing some of these individuals that are already in uniform to remain in service.
In June 2016, the Obama administration revised the longstanding policy, announcing that military troops could openly serve as transgender individuals.
It set July 2017 as the deadline for deciding whether transgenders could be permitted to provide services in the military. However, Jim Mattis, the Defense Secretary of the U.S., deferred that to January 1, 2018, and President Trump has now ordered Mattis to extend it indefinitely.
But on the concerns of what will happen to those transgender individuals who are already serving openly, the President seemed to leave some room for consideration. An official of the White House who briefed reporters on this particular presidential order refused to say whether Trump would allow any exceptions.
The official, who under the White House’s ground rules, spoke on a condition of anonymity, stated that Secretary Mattis was directed to take into consideration some factors to determine how to deal with transgender individuals whore are already serving in the military. Those factors include broad measures including budgetary constraints, “unit cohesion,” and “military effectiveness.” It also includes other factors that the Secretary deems “relevant.” It was unclear whether that means that there is a possibility for Mattis to decide that some transgender troops should be permitted to remain.
Mattis was given six months by Trump to formulate a policy on those that are currently serving, and he must put it into effect by March 23, 218, said the official.
Last month, in one of his tweets, the U.S. President announced that it would not accept r allow” transgender individuals to serve “in any capacity” in the military.
The White Official stated last Friday that President Trumps also instructed Mattis to stop the use of federal funds to finance sexual reassignment surgeries and medications, except when it is considered to be necessary for protecting the health of an individual who has already started with the transition. The said policy is to be composed within six months and implemented around March 23 next year.
Also on Friday, the Pentagon had little to comment on the subject. The chief spokeswoman for Mattis, Dana W. White, released a two-sentence statement saying Mattis had the guidance of the White House regarding the transgender policy, adding, “More information will be forthcoming.”
About a year ago, on June 2016, Ash Carter, the previous Defence Secretary, declared that for the first time, transgender individuals could openly render their services to the military. Before that, most people in the military who were transgenders were obliged to keep their status secret to avoid being discharged; it appears that Trump’s orders appear to bring the military back to that same situation.
After Carter’s change in policy, some troops, probably hundreds, have openly expressed their transgender status.
Moreover, Carter has given the military services until the 1st of July of this year to discuss plans for allowing transgenders to join the military. Briefly, before that date, Mattis extended that study period to the end of 2017. Also, shortly after that, without consulting the usual interagency policy process, President Trump went to Twitter to announce a total ban, without performing the process on customary interagency policy.