White House Announces New Policy Banning Most Transgender People From Military Service

Critics call the regulautions "transphobia masquerading as policy."

On Friday evening, the White House announced that transgender people “with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” requiring medication, surgery or other treatment are disqualified from military service “except under certain limited circumstances.”

Enlistees who have been stable in their gender for at least three years may serve, as can as those who do not require medical transition or who enlisted under the Obama administration’s policy prior to the new regulations.

Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the policy was developed under the direction of Defense Secretary James Mattis, “through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans.”

“[It] will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards—including those regarding the use of medical drugs—equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen.”

After several federal courts ruled President Trump’s proposed full ban on transgender service members unconstitutional, the Pentagon was been tasked with providing the White House with alternate guidelines for service. But Joshua Block of the ACLU called the late-night announcement “transphobia masquerading as policy.”

“This policy is not based on an evaluation of new evidence. It is reverse-engineered for the sole purpose of carrying out President Trump’s reckless and unconstitutional ban, undermining the ability of transgender service members to serve openly and military readiness as a whole.”

At least two trans service members have signed contracts with different branches of the Armed Forces since the start of the year.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.