A White House memo banning transgenders from joining the military is set to be sent to the Pentagon in the next few days.
The memo, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, also instructs the Pentagon not to pay for medical treatments related to gender transition and grants Secretary of Defense James Mattis the authority to assess whether any current transgenders in the military are capable of deployment. If not, Mattis could remove them from the service. Several military officials have emphasized that they would not change any guidance on transgenders until they received direction from the White House. That direction seems to be arriving almost a month later.
The American Military Partner Association, a pro-LGBT organization, condemned the memo as a “vicious assault.”
“Despite the overwhelming bipartisan condemnation of his reckless tweets, President Trump is still pushing forward with his vicious assault on transgender service members,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack in a statement. “His foolhardy assertion that transgender service members are not able to deploy is simply not rooted in fact. Transgender service members are just as deployable as any other service member. These brave men and women are already risking their lives for this country around the world. They have earned their right to appropriate medical care, and President Trump’s attempt to rip that away is beyond unconscionable.”
In early August, a group of retired admirals and generals applauded Trump’s initial Twitter announcement on July 26 as “courageous.”
However, the memo seems to walk back the content of Trump’s tweets, in which he appeared to suggest that no transgenders would be allowed to serve at all.
So far, Trump’s announcement has been widely condemned by Democratic members of Congress and also the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which stated that Trump’s series of tweets “harms all Americans by sending a message that fosters and encourages prejudice, inconsistent with our core national values. If implemented, the ban would further harm Americans, and weaken our defense, by enshrining unequal treatment of Americans based on rank stereotype.”
The Obama administration first repealed the ban on transgenders serving openly in the military in June 2016.
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