US Military to ask for extension to implement trans-inclusive policy: Officials
Government officials have said that the US Military is to ask for a delay for its deadline to implement a policy to accept trans applicants into its ranks.
The Army and Marine Corps could be asking for delays of up to two years to implement the policy.
They had been set a deadline of 1 July to bring in the policy announced back in 2016 meaning trans people could serve openly in the military.
Delay requests have already been made to top Pentagon officials, according to reports.
But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not yet made a decision whether to begin accepting out transgender troops, the Pentagon has said.
“The Secretary of Defense directed the military departments to assess their readiness to access transgender applicants into the military,” said Army Lt. Col. Myles Caggins, a Pentagon spokesman.
“The assessment is narrowly focused on readiness to access transgender applicants, not on gender transition by currently serving Service members.”
In June of last year, President Obama asked the Pentagon to lift its long-held ban on transgender soldiers serving openly in the military.
Obama’s ruling meant, in theory, that transgender soldiers would be afforded the same healthcare coverage as other soldiers – including, if required, hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery.
The Department of Defense was given until July 1st of this year to implement the policy, with LGBT advocates hopeful that transgender soldiers would be able to serve openly in just less than a month.
Last month, Defense Secretary Mattis distributed a carefully worded memo saying that Obama’s pro-trans plans would proceed “unless they cause readiness problems that could lessen our ability to fight, survive, and win on the battlefield”.