The Pentagon announced Friday night that the Trump administration has abandoned its attempt to prevent openly transgender people from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, Newsweek reports.
Trump initially declared a full ban on trans service members via a series of tweets on July 26, citing “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
Two federal appeals courts have since upheld rulings against the ban, issuing preliminary injunctions ordering that the U.S. military cannot discriminate against trans service members and must continue providing their medical care.
A Department of Justice official says the administration will not challenge these rulings, which requires the U.S. military to accept openly trans recruits beginning January 1; however, the administration may explore other ways of blocking trans people from enlisting in the future.
“The Department of Defense has announced that it will be releasing an independent study of these issues in the coming weeks,” the official confirms. “So rather than litigate this interim appeal before that occurs, the administration has decided to wait for DOD’s study and will continue to defend the president’s lawful authority in district court in the meantime.”
The Pentagon, which has created a panel of senior officials to study how to implement Trump’s directive to prohibit trans service members, has until February 21 to submit a plan.