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.
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.”
No one with the strength & bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are. This hateful ban is purpose-built to humiliate our brave transgender members of the military who serve with honor & dignity. #ProtectTransTroops
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) March 24, 2018
At least two trans service members have signed contracts with different branches of the Armed Forces since the start of the year.