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President Trump Signs New Transgender Military Ban

President Trump has signed a memorandum that bans most individuals suffering from gender dysphoria from US military service. The new directive adopts recommendations from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that "transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition" cannot serve.

CMR TransgenderBut it gives the Pentagon and other agencies some discretion in the matter according to multiple media reports.

The new memorandum says that transgender individuals with a history of gender dysphoria are barred from military service "except under certain limited circumstances".

The Department of Defense (DoD) had submitted a report to the president which said allowing those with a history of gender dysphoria to serve entailed "substantial risks" and could, by exempting them from existing physical, mental and sex-based standards, "undermine readiness... and impose an unreasonable burden on the military".

It said the Obama administration's decision to allow transgender individuals to serve in the military was largely based on a 2016 study by the Rand think-tank, which "contained significant shortcomings".

The report found that allowing transgender people to serve openly would have a minimal impact on force readiness and healthcare costs.

The new policy approved by President Trump allows current transgender service members with gender dysphoria to continue serving if they were diagnosed after the Obama administration's policy took effect.

Transgender individuals not diagnosed with gender dysphoria, will be allowed to serve, "like all other service members, in their biological sex".

Between 4,000 and 10,000 US active-duty and reserve service members are believed to be transgender.

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday said that President Trump's recently issued policies barring most transgender individuals from the military “stand on their own.”

Speaking to reporters prior to meeting with the Indonesia Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, Mattis said the military is “out to build the most lethal service.”

He declined to comment further, as the policies are under litigation reported The Hill’s Ellen Mitchell.

“I think the statements stand on their own right now, and I don't need to waste our guest's time reiterating what's already down,” Mattis said according to Mitchell’s reporting.

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

President Trump's earlier ban was first announced on Twitter in July 2017, when he posted: "The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military."

The order to reverse President Obama's policy was blocked by federal judges who said it was probably unconstitutional.

Our friend Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, a Marine veteran, was quick to support the President’s plan, and released the following statement after an initial review of the Department of Defense's new transgender military policy:

"President Trump is keeping his pledge to end the Obama era of social experimentation in our nation's military.  In the fall of 2016, I co-moderated a veterans townhall meeting where candidate Donald Trump was asked how he would handle social engineering and political correctness being forced on the military.  He responded saying,  'We are going to get away from political correctness.'  The revised personnel policy announced today does exactly that –  it moves the military away from political correctness and puts the focus on the military's mission: preparing to fight and win wars.

"President Trump is moving the military away from the crippling policies of the Obama era that left our nation's defenses at its lowest levels of readiness since before WWII.  He recognizes that the last thing we should be doing is diverting tax payer dollars from mission-critical training to funding for controversial gender reassignment surgeries and transgender sensitivity training for service members.  The president is keeping his promises and advancing policies essential to keeping our military strong and our country safe," concluded Perkins.

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, former U.S. Army Delta Force commander and current Family Research Council executive vice president, offered the following reaction:

"It pleases me that our commander-in-chief is more focused on military readiness than on appeasing special interest groups," concluded Boykin.

The BBC reports it is unclear when the new policy will be enacted, and it is likely to face legal challenges. On Friday, the Pentagon said it would continue to comply with federal law, and "continue to assess and retain transgender service members."

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