House Dems urge Trump to reconsider military transgender ban

Jerome Frank
August 31, 2017

The announcement comes just days after President Donald Trump signed a memo directing the Pentagon to bar transgender people from entering the USA military and directing Mattis to decide how to handle active-duty transgender troops.

After President Trump tweeted in late July that the military would ban transgender people from service, the Pentagon waited for official word from the President on how to implement the request, since direct orders generally don't come by way of social media.

In the interim, now serving transgender troops will remain in the armed forces under existing policy, he said.

The primary concerns of the study will be promoting "military readiness, lethality, and unit cohesion", and interim guidance will be released soon, said Mattis, himself a retired U.S Marine Corps combat veteran.

The announcement follows an order from President Trump - first announced in a tweet - declaring that transgender service members can no longer serve in the military, effectively reversing an Obama administration policy. That appalling decision is not (and can not possibly be, given its timing) based on any hastily assembled, post hoc "study" that is being cooked up now in a transparent effort to provide a retroactive fig leaf for the President's bigotry.

The ban would take effect next year. Two lawsuits have already been filed, challenging Trump's ban.

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In a landmark moment for the LGBTQ community, transgender service members were encouraged to be open about their gender identities while serving, without the fear of discharge. But Mattis previously expressed skepticism toward that study's conclusions, according to the Washington Post, indicating he may be interested in research that leads the Pentagon to an alternate conclusion on transgender troops' military impact.

Trump's directive explicitly called for reinstating the ban, asking the Pentagon to "return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016", when the Obama administration announced that transgender Americans "may serve openly" in the armed services.

On Friday, the White House issued a memo to the Department of Defense with formal guidance on the ban, weeks after the president tweeted about it - seemingly surprising military officials and Congress. That ban will go into effect in about 7 months, on March 23.

Regardless of one's views on transgender people, most would agree this ban is unnecessary. The notion that there is any good faith "study" being conducted is a blatant pretext for unmitigated, vicious, baseless discrimination.

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Wednesday (Aug 30) that there was still room for diplomacy in dealing with North Korea's provocative ballistic missile launches, after President Donald Trump said negotiations were "not the answer".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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