Newly appointed Army Secretary Mike Esper says President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender topps “hasn’t come up” in the past three months as he’s been speaking to American soldiers at home and abroad.
Esper told ABC News that the two main concerns he heard from soldiers involved pay and quality of food. He has met with a handful of active-duty transgender service members, however, who have told him the issue isn’t about gender, or being treat special—it’s about everyone being treated equally.
“Everybody wants to be treated with a clear set of standards,” Esper said, adding, “At the end of the day, the Army is a standards-based organization.”
President Trump has repeatedly attempted to prohibit transgender Americans from serving in the military, overturning a directive issued by the Obama administration. His proposed ban has consistently been shot down in federal courts, and trans men and women were invited to enlist as of January 1.
The Pentagon must submit an implementation plan to address trans recruits by tomorrow. Initially, memos from the White House directed the Armed Forces to prohibit transgender individuals from openly serving, but it’s not clear how the Defense Department will recommend in light of both the recent rulings and the Trump Administration’s admission that it would no longer pursue the ban in court.
A new policy is scheduled to go into effect on March 23.
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