Transgenders can stay in United States military for now: Mattis

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Defense Secretary stalls Donald Trump's trans military ban for the time being
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31 August, 2017

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis released a statement saying that the Department of Defense (DOD) "will carry out the president's policy direction" to push transgender service members out of the military.

However, others are pointing out that the defense secretary's memo announcing an experts panel on transgender troops is a move that basically follows Trump's order.

Mattis' statement Tuesday night came in response to Trump's memo last Friday that directed Mattis, in consultation with secretary of Homeland Security, to submit a plan to him by February 21. "In the interim, current policy with respect to now serving members will remain in place", said Mattis. President Barack Obama's administration allowed them to openly serve and receive medical care, but Trump tweeted that they were disruptive.

Popular Video This young teenage singer was shocked when Keith Urban invited her on stage at his concert. "The implementation plan will address accessions of transgender individuals and transgender individuals now serving in the United States military".

Democrats are working on crafting an amendment to the bill that could reverse Trump's directive barring transgender individuals from serving in the military, or at least protect transgender individuals now serving, according to aides and advocates. However, a quick scan of the numbers (and a study by the RAND group) shows that at most trans service people cost the military $8.4 million dollars a year in medical costs. Similarly, Politico's Eliana Johnson called Mattis' statement "kind of a rebuke" of Trump's announcement during an appearance on MSNBC.

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The military now is the largest employer of transgender Americans with over 12,800 now serving. The study will determine transgender troops' "military effectiveness and lethality, budgetary constraints, and applicable law". (The latter is included because the Coast Guard falls under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security rather than that of the Defense Department.) The president's intention to issue such guidance was first reported late last Wednesday. That ban will go into effect in about 7 months, on March 23.

Trump's memo instructs Secretary of Defense James Mattis to further explore how to handle transgender people now serving in the armed forces and orders the Pentagon to stop paying for gender reassignment surgeries, except in cases that are already in progress to "protect the health of an individual". Transgender service members have also filed suit in federal court to challenge the directive. The notion that there is any good faith "study" being conducted is a blatant pretext for unmitigated, vicious, baseless discrimination.

Trump's order has also resulted in several lawsuits filed on behalf of current and future USA military soldiers.

The congressional debate over transgender service, shaping up to be the most contentious issue on the annual policy bill, is one of several avenues that opponents of barring transgender individuals from serving are exploring to fight Trump's memorandum.

The BBC said the measure could affect between 4,000 and 10,000 active-duty and reserve service members.


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