President Donald Trump released his guidance to prevent transgender people from serving in the military on Friday.
The guidance memorandum now prevents transgender people from enlisting in the armed forces, thus ending the Obama era policy that originally had directed the military to fully allow transgender individuals to be recruited by July 1, 2017. Back in June, the deadline had been extended to grant military leaders time for further study on the effects of the new policies.
The memorandum directs the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security to devise a plan regarding how to address transgender service members who are currently serving by February 21, 2018.
The directive also requires the military to ‘halt all use of DoD or DRS resources to fund sex-reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel,” with the only exception being those who have already begun a course of treatment to “ reassign his or her sex.”
“Donald Trump and Mike Pence are forcing their hate, bigotry, and discrimination onto the military with this transgender ban,” – Stephen Peters, HRC National Press Secretary and Marine veteran
A White House official who briefed reporters regarding the memo on Friday signaled that the current administration is returning to the military’s policy that existed prior to 2016. The official also denied the notion that the move is discriminatory, claiming that Trump still supports the rights of LGBT individuals. “The President is the President for all Americans, and during last year’s campaign he was the first GOP nominee to talk about LGBTQ issues at the GOP convention, but he also was critical of the Obama administration’s change in that longstanding DOD policy,” the official said.
Transgender rights groups are calling the directive outright discrimination against the transgender community. The Department of Defense (DoD) is currently the largest employer of transgender people in the United States, and there are more than 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today. “Donald Trump and Mike Pence are forcing their hate, bigotry, and discrimination onto the military with this transgender ban,” said Stephen Peters, HRC National Press Secretary and Marine veteran. “Secretary Mattis has a solemn responsibility to protect transgender troops from this vile political attack. We have a responsibility to treat every service member with the honor, respect, and benefits they have earned. And no qualified and talented American should be turned away from the military just because of their gender identity. Donald Trump’s attack on currently serving troops and his refusal to treat every service member equally proves once again he is unfit to be commander in chief.”
Read the full memorandum below: