U.S. military will accept transgender recruits

President Trump's efforts to prevent transgendered persons from serving in the U.S. military fell flat, and the military recruiting offices' doors are open to transgendered applicants as of January 1 this year.
By Rick Docksai | Jan 05, 2018
Transgendered persons are free to serve in the U.S. military, despite President Trump's efforts to prohibit them from being service members "in any capacity." The Pentagon confirmed that as of January 1, it will admit transgendered persons as long as they meet certain medical criteria.

Those criteria include having a doctor verify that the individual's last surgery was 18 months ago or longer and that no additional surgeries are needed. The individual must also have been "stable in the preferred gender" since that 18-month time span began.

"As mandated by court order, the Department of Defense is prepared to begin accessing transgender applicants for military service January 1, and all applicants must meet all current accession standards," Pentagon spokesman Major Dave Eastburn said.

The Pentagon was initially supposed to start accepting transgendered persons for the first time on July 1, 2017, per a policy that the Obama administration had enacted the year prior. But Trump's Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, pushed the date back to January to allow for a six-months-long review of the new policy.

Trump was calling for a complete reversal of the Obama administration's order, tweeting in July that admitting transgendered persons would impose "tremendous" medical costs and disruptions to military operations. Mattis himself refused to back a ban, however, and subsequent lawsuits in four federal courts resulted in four rulings against implementing any ban on transgendered recruitment.

The Department of Justice settled the matter last week with a statement that it would not ask the Supreme Court to intervene and postpone transgendered recruitment any further. The January 1 date thus went into effect. A Pentagon panel is further assessing issues surrounding transgendered recruitment and is expected to provide Trump with new recommendations by the end of February.


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