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Defence Secretary Mattis seems to be confused over the trans troop ban

Meka Beresford August 15, 2017
Human rights

Anti-Trump protesters in New York (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Defence Secretary James Mattis has addressed the ban on transgender service members and he seems to be confused.

There was a great deal of backlash LGBT+ activists as well as politicians and Pentagon officials after President Trump announced on Twitter that trans military personnel were not allowed to “serve in any capacity”.

James Mattis
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Getty Images)

Speaking about the ban at a press conference, Mattis attempted to answer questions about the ban and the upcoming review of policies on trans troops but failed to shine any clarity on the situation.

Mattis said that in the Pentagon’s review of current transgender service policies he would not be “willing to prejudge” the outcome of the study and what effect that will have on future policy concerning trans military members.

“The policy is going to address whether or not transgenders can serve under what conditions, what medical support they require, how much time would they perhaps be non-deployable,” Mattis said.

He added that he was waiting for further direction from the White House before proceeding with the study.

“I’m going to wait, again, until I get the direction from the White House and then we will study and come up with what the policy should be.

“I’m not willing to prejudge what the study will now bring out as a policy”.

In the press conference, a reporter questioned whether Mattis’ statement meant that the department of defence was “still open” to transgender people serving.

“I’m saying we’re going to study the issue,” Mattis clarified. “We are studying the issue.”

The statement appears to suggest that there is a possibility of a new policy that does not flat out ban transgender service members.

The shake-up in trans troop policy comes after Mattis repeatedly pushed back the creation of a plan which would allow trans enlistment which was ordered by the former defence secretary, Ash Carter.

The Pentagon was given until July 1 to construct policies and guidelines on allowing trans people to serve openly.

However, Trump announced on Twitter, to the shock of officials in both the Pentagon and the White House that the Government would be banning trans troops.

He wrote: “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.

“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.”

Following the tweets, the number of calls made to a suicide hotline by transgender people more than doubled.

One military surgeon has offered free surgeries for trans people on the waiting list if the government denies them.

Dr Christine McGinn, who is trans herself, has said that any trans people scheduled for surgery with her will not have to pay the fees if the government refuses to.

One of the apparent driving forces behind Trump’s decision to ban trans personnel was the “cost”.

However, military music, Viagra and one single fighter plane cost at least 5 times the amount of the healthcare for all trans troops.

A lawsuit has been launched against Tthe Trump administration on behalf of five current trans troops.

President Trump has said he is trying to do the military “a great favour” by banning out transgender people from serving.

More: James Mattis, LGBT, military, secretary of defense, Trans, trans troops, trans troops ban, Transgender, US, US

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