President Trump issued an order late Friday that supports a ban on many transgender troops, deferring to a new Pentagon plan that essentially cancels a policy adopted by the Obama administration.
The decision revokes a full ban that Trump issued last summer but disqualifies U.S. troops who have had gender reassignment surgery, as recommended by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
“By its very nature, military service requires sacrifice,” Mattis wrote in a memo to the president that was released Friday. “The men and women who serve voluntarily accept limitations on their personal liberties — freedom of speech, political activity, freedom of movement — in order to provide the military lethality and readiness necessary to ensure American citizens enjoy their personal freedoms to the fullest extent.”
Current transgender service members who have not undergone reassignment surgery should be allowed to stay, as long as they have been medically stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex before joining the military and are able to deploy across the world, Mattis recommended.
Mattis recommended that anyone diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the condition of wanting to transition gender, since the Obama administration ended the Pentagon’s longtime ban on transgender service in 2016 may continue to serve. The decision amounts to a “grandfathering” of those affected by the new policy.
The new plan will be challenged in court, just as the full ban that Trump issued last summer was, in at least four separate cases that are still ongoing. Federal judges allowed transgender service members to continue serving under the old ban and permitted transgender recruits to join the military as well.
The Justice Department filed a copy of Mattis’s recommendations in at least one of those legal battles Friday.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe