Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist has signed a directive ordering all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces to enact President Donald Trump‘s ban on transgender troops within 30 days.
The new policy, first announced by the President in a series of tweets on July 26, 2017, “will largely bar transgender troops and military recruits from transitioning to another sex, and require most individuals to serve in their birth gender,” the Associated Press reports Tuesday evening.
While the memo, published by The Washington Blade, says that all service members and applicants “must be treated with dignity and respect,” the goal behind the plan, as the President stated, is to ban all transgender troops.
The directive “will likely force the military to eventually discharge transgender individuals who need hormone treatments or surgery and can’t or won’t serve in their birth gender,” the AP reports.
After one month from today, on April 12, the Pentagon will refuse to accept any new recruit with gender dysphoria who is currently on a hormone treatment or has already transitioned. Also after April 12, currently enlisted troops with gender dysphoria will be forced to serve in their “birth gender” and will be barred from taking hormones or transitioning.
President Trump specifically cited what he claimed were high costs of healthcare for transgender troops. That was false.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump had tweeted in 2017, without warning and without consulting with his generals. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Since 2016 the Pentagon has spent just $8 million on healthcare for transgender service members. The Pentagon’s annual healthcare budget is more than $50 billion.
“Last year, all four service chiefs told Congress that they had seen no discipline, morale or unit readiness problems with transgender troops serving openly in the military,” the AP adds. “The five transgender troops who testified in January said their medical transitions took anywhere from four weeks to four months and they did most of it on their own time. All said they were fit to return to deploying afterward.”
A federal judge in Maryland last week lifted his block preventing Trump’s desired ban on transgender service members to go into effect.
In January, lobbyist and extremist conservative activist Ginni Thomas, who happens to be the spouse of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, met with President Trump in the White House to press him to move forward on his transgender troops ban, and to urge him to ban women from military service.
Image of President Trump at the Pentagon by The White House via Flickr
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