Report: White House Set to Issue Guidance to Pentagon on Transgender Military BanBy Adam Polaski • August 24, 2017 • 11:03 am
Last night The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump Administration is finalizing plans to send guidance to the Pentagon regarding implementation of the ban on transgender military service. The guidance will purportedly force the Pentagon to stop admitting transgender service members into the military, as well as direct the Defense Department to stop providing critical health care coverage to active duty transgender service members.
According to The Journal, the guidance calls for Secretary of Defense James Mattis to consider one’s “deployability” to a war zone when determining whether transgender Americans currently serving can continue to do so. The guidance reportedly gives the Pentagon six months to implement the new policy.
This is the latest development regarding the ban since a hasty announcement by Trump in late July via Twitter stating that transgender Americans would be banned from serving in the armed forces in any capacity, calling them a “burden” and a “disruption”.
“President Trump’s decision to force the military to ban transgender service members is a betrayal of our country’s sacred promise to care for the brave men, women, and their families who sacrifice so much on our behalf in the line of duty,” said Kasey Suffredini, acting CEO and president of strategy at Freedom for All Americans. “Transgender Americans have selflessly fought for our freedom; it’s unfair and shameful our commander-in-chief is needlessly denying them the same in return. Ejecting transgender people from the armed services hurts American families and does nothing to strengthen our nation’s military.”
Nearly one in five transgender Americans – 21% – is serving or has served in the U.S. armed forces—over twice the percentage of the general population. Currently, there are approximately 15,000 active transgender service members.
The military itself has carefully studied this issue and concluded that there is no reason to bar transgender people from military service, stating that a more inclusive policy would have little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) recently filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of five openly transgender service members, challenging President Trump’s directive to reinstate the ban.