Friday (25 August) afternoon, Donald Trump issued a memorandum ordering the end of transgender military service effective in 2018.
This is a reversal of the Obama administration’s policy, which allowed transgender individuals to serve openly beginning in June 2016.
The new Trump policy will take effect 23 March, 2018. It also prohibits Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security funds go towards sex-reassignment purposes except to protect the health of the individual. This begins the same day.
As written in the memo: ‘In my judgment, the previous Administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the Departments’ longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources.’
Trump also claims ‘there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year’s policy change would not have those negative effects’.
In other words, this policy believes there needs to be further proof that transgender military personnel would not negatively affect military effectiveness, unit cohesion, or taxes.
It is important to note, however, the memo also states ‘the Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may advise me at any time, in writing, that a change to this policy is warranted’.
The Defense Department acknowledged the receipt of this memorandum.
‘Discriminatory and disruptive’
The proclamation comes a day after Senator and veteran Tammy Duckworth criticized the ban as being ‘discriminatory’ and ‘disruptive’.
She is not the only one who has spoken out against the ban.
56 retired generals slammed it, the head of the US Coast Guard said he would not turn his back on transgender people serving, and a July poll revealed most Americans approve of transgender military personnel.
Furthermore, the Trevor Project released statistics that crisis calls from trans youth increased following the initial announcement of the ban.
Earlier in the month, a report revealed the ban will cost $1 billion.
It is likely Democratic members of Congress will speak against the ban. The NCLR and GLAD already have a lawsuit in motion regarding the ban, so the fight is far from over.