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posted Friday, August 25, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 34
White House issues guidelines for Transgender military ban

Pentagon ordered to enact policy within six months, lawsuits expected
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White House issues guidelines for Transgender military ban

Pentagon ordered to enact policy within six months, lawsuits expected

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The White House issued a two-and-a-half-page memo on August 23, ordering Secretary of Defense James Mattis to enact Donald Trump's policy barring Trans troops within six months.

It was the first official action on Transgender military service since Trump's notorious July 26 tweets saying he would ban Trans people from the military.

At the time of the tweets, the ACLU and other LGBT rights groups invited Trans service people to call on their legal services, and lawsuits are expected to follow once the Pentagon issues its rules.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House memo allows Mattis to consider 'deployabaility' as a legal means to determine whether to discharge Trans service members from the military. In other words, if Trans service people are able to serve in a war zone, or participate in military exercises, then the Pentagon can keep them in the military.

A 2016 Rand Corporation study found that almost all currently serving Transgender military personnel are deployable.

On the other hand, officials who spoke to WSJ about the White House memo said it also gives Mattis the power to turn away Transgender people seeking to join the military, and to halt spending on medical treatment for those currently serving.

Under rules enacted by the Obama administration, Trans people in the military were eligible for government-paid transition services, including surgery, because they were judged to be medically necessary.

Trump, however, tweeted that his administration did not want to put up with what he called the 'tremendous medical costs and disruption' of transition. In fact, the Rand study found that health care costs for the US military increase at most 0.13% when transition services are included.

LGBT activists denounced the new Trump memo as unfair and based on bias rather than facts.

'Transgender people are just as deployable as other service members,' Sue Fulton, former president of the LGBT military organization Sparta, told WSJ.

'Other service members may undergo procedures when they are at home base, just as other service members schedule shoulder surgery or gall bladder surgery,' she said, adding that there were no 'ongoing treatments' for transgender individuals that would cause them to be nondeployable.

'Thus there's no difference between the deployability of transgender service members' and others, Fulton added.

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