Pentagon confirms first transgender troop has signed up, after Trump ban defeat
The Pentagon has confirmed that a transgender recruit has signed up to join the military – after Donald Trump’s ban on trans troops was lifted.
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.
Four different courts issued rulings blocking the decision amid legal action, allowing transgender troops to join the military from January 1 this year.
Following the legal action, the Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis sent a memo to the White House last week giving guidance on future policy.
While the details of the memo were not disclosed, it is believed that he recommended allowing transgender people to openly serve.
Today, the Pentagon confirmed that a transgender person has signed a contract to the join the U.S. military for the first time since the memo was sent.
Maj. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said the contract was signed on Friday, and that the person met the required standards to serve in the military.
He said: “[The Pentagon] confirms that as of February 23, 2018 there is one transgender individual under contract for service in the US Military”.
The individual has yet to start basic training.
Trump has remained silent on the issue.
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN last month asked a federal district court to permanently block enforcement of the Trump Administration’s ban policy.
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The motion for summary judgment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington seeks a speedy resolution of the case..
Plaintiff Megan Winters, a 29-year-old woman and five-year member of the U.S. Navy serving in the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C, said: “Without a court ruling, the possibility of being shoved back into the closet hangs over my head and every transgender service member’s head every day.
“It is impossible to overstate how damaging that uncertainty is to morale and military readiness.”
Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said: “Every single federal court to look at President Trump’s policy has already found that it reeks of undisguised and unlawful discrimination against qualified transgender people willing and able to serve our country, and it’s time to put the nail in the coffin for that policy.
“The facts are in and the court has what it needs to finally return this bigoted policy back to the dustbin of history, where it has always belonged. Every day that this clearly illegal ban lingers perpetuates harm to patriotic Americans who wish only to serve the country they love.”