President Donald Trump has issued guidance to the Pentagon on transgender policies. Trump has asked the military to stop admitting transgender individuals, but gives the secretaries of defense and homeland security some leeway. From Fox News:

The directive reinstates the ban on military service for transgender individuals. It also halts military expenses on sexual reassignment surgery, except for those who have already begun medical procedures, and implements criteria for whether transgender individuals already in the military should be allowed to continue to serve.

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year when then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, during the Obama administration, lifted the prior ban.

“In President Trump’s judgment, the previous administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating long-standing policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness, disrupt unit cohesion, tax military resources,” a senior administration official said Friday.

Trump originally made his announcement at the end of July, but the Joint Chiefs said a day later that the military would not make any modifications until Trump sent them guidance. From Politico:

“I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President,” Dunford wrote in the message, a copy of which was provided to POLITICO. “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.”

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions,” he continued.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter under President Barack Obama “issued a directive last year that permitted transgender troops to serve in the military, and to undergo reassignment surgery.”

Congress has started to look over a spending bill for the Pentagon worth almost $700 billion. The New York Times reported that Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) “has proposed an amendment that would bar the Pentagon from spending money on transition surgery or related hormone therapy.”

That same measure failed in the House earlier in July because some Republicans sided with “Democrats to reject it.” Conservative Republicans have insisted “they would not support the military spending measure without the language banning money for gender transition.”

The Hill also reported that “approximately 250 transgender people now” serve “openly in the U.S. military.”


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