Trump administration plans to roll out new transgender military policy this month
The Trump administration is planning to roll out a new policy on transgender people in the military this month.
Donald Trump announced on Twitter last year that all transgender servicepeople would be purged from the US armed forces, claiming they were a burden on the military.
The decision was reportedly taken without consultation with military chiefs or legal experts, and the policy has been repeatedly smacked down in the courts.
Transgender people were able to openly join the military from last month, after a court blocked Trump’s ban from coming into effect.
However, the Justice Department signalled in court this week that it will be announcing a new policy on the issue.
The plans were revealed in an order from the US District Court for Maryland, which had been ruling on a discovery motion for the government to turn over information relating to the policy.
The judge wrote: “Defendants’ counsel contend that they cannot now comply because they will not be defending the policy now at issue but will be defending the policy to be disclosed on February 21, 2018.
“Defense counsel… have promised to make a filing on February 16, 2018, and agree to necessary adjustment to existing scheduling to avoid prejudice to Plaintiffs.”
According to BuzzFeed, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to submit an implementation plan for banning transgender troops on February 21, the date referenced.
Speaking to BuzzFeed, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. David Eastburn said the White House would make the final decision on a “new policy”.
He added: “The panel that was established by the Secretary of Defense is presenting their recommendations to him. At the end of this month, The Secretary will make his recommendations to the President, who will then make a decision and establish the new policy on transgender [service] in the military.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department added to BuzzFeed: “We will continue to defend the President’s and Secretary of Defense’s lawful authority in district court.”
The Republican National Committee recently threw its support behind President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military.
The RNC passed a resolution at its annual meeting, voting to support the President’s policy.
Lucas Acosta, LGBTQ Media Director at the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement: “Over the last month alone, the Trump-Pence administration has rolled back significant protections for the LGBTQ community, ripped apart families, and allowed health care workers to discriminate access to medical care.
“The RNC decided to go even further and pass a hateful resolution, which only serves to subvert and further demean hardworking men and women who want to serve their country in the most honorable way they can.
“The RNC has proven they are more than willing to deny basic rights to LGBTQ Americans all while accepting money from an accused sexual predator and funneling money to an alleged child molester.”
National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said: “Transgender people have been serving openly for the last 19 months, and the only disruption has come from President Trump and others who are determined to jeopardize military readiness to advance their extremist political agenda.
“The fact is that we’ve shown, both through studies and experience, that open service by transgender troops is good for the military. We look forward to the courts settling this once and for all so that transgender troops can focus on protecting our country without having to worry about their job security every day.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD said: “President Trump’s bigoted proposal to purge qualified military personnel is in direct contradiction to the will of the American people and what’s best for our nation’s security.
“The fact that the RNC is siding with blatant discrimination over supporting the rights of brave Americans to serve our nation displays how toxic and deeply rooted the Trump Administration’s anti-LGBTQ ideology has become.”
David Stacy, the Human Rights Campaign’s Government Affairs Director, said: “Transgender members of the military are serving their country with effectiveness and honor.
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“The RNC’s statement is a disgusting attack on thousands of brave transgender service members and the armed services as a whole.
“It goes against the expert opinions of the medical and military communities in addition to flying in the face of supportive statements offered by at least 20 Republican lawmakers.
“As every federal court ruling to date has confirmed: this ban is unconstitutional. We will continue to fight for, and win, the right of every qualified person to serve the country they love.”
Last year, the American Medical Association said: “There is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service. Transgender individuals are serving their country with honor, and they should be allowed to continue doing so.”
The American Psychological Association concurred: “We’ve seen no scientific evidence that allowing transgender people to serve in the armed forces has had an adverse impact on our military readiness or unit cohesion. Therefore, we ask that transgender individuals continue to be allowed to serve their country.”