Trump reinstates ban on most transgenders from serving in military

President Donald Trump on Friday issued an order banning most transgender troops from serving in the military except under "limited circumstances".

Mattis outlined the new policy in a filing Friday in U.S. District Court in Maryland in a motion to dissolve a preliminary injunction blocking Trump's initial order banning transgender service.

It added that "the Secretary of Homeland Security concurs with these policies with respect to the U.S. Coast Guard", which would also be affected by the policy.

Trump shocked Pentagon leaders past year when he tweeted that he would reverse the Obama-era policy allowing transgender people to serve openly, the Associated Press reported.

A 2016 study commissioned by the US Defense Department found that allowing transgender people to openly serve in the military would have a "minimal impact" on readiness and health-care costs, largely because there are so few in the military's 1.3 million-member force.

The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, said the policy was "transphobia masquerading as policy" and was not based on new evidence but rather "reverse-engineered for the sole objective of carrying out President Trump's reckless and unconstitutional ban".

Trump issues a formal ban on transgender people serving in the military

"This policy was reverse-engineered for the sole goal of carrying out President Trump's reckless and unconstitutional ban", the union said. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, has told CNN. There are over 1,300,000 active duty personnel of the United States military, according to July 2017 data from the Department of Defense. At the high end, that would mean Trump skipping three straight weekends at Mar-a-Lago to cover the cost for transgender military members to serve. The ban follows Trump's erratic announcement in July 2017, when through a series of Tweets he stated his intention to ban transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the USA military.

"From the first impulsive tweet, this policy has clearly been driven by an extreme anti-LGBTQ agenda rather than what is in the best interests of our troops and national security", said Sarah McBride, national press secretary for Human Rights Campaign. "Transgender persons without a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria, who are otherwise qualified for service, may serve, like all other service members, in their biological sex".

"There is simply no way to spin it, the Trump-Pence Administration is going all in on its discriminatory, unconstitutional and despicable ban on transgender troops", HRC president Chad Griffin said.

The decision comes after a number of top military officials over the past year- including most members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - have gone out of their way to defend the thousands of transgender troops who are believed to be serving in the military. They have before. But should that fail (let's not forget, Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced S.1820, a bill "to provide for the retention and service of transgender members of the Armed Forces", back in September of 2017. The Pentagon said on Friday it would continue to comply with current federal law.

According to a report published in The Washington Post, Trump's decision will be challeged, much like his previous decision, where he banned transgender troops.

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  • Megan Austin