The Trump administration has continued to press on with its plans to ban transgender individuals from the United States military, despite a series of embarrassing court defeats.
In defiance of strong opposition from both human rights groups and legal advisers, the White House has since issued an order outlining how the discriminatory Trump ban should be adopted by the Department of Defense.
In the document, the president formally reversed his earlier blanket ban on all transgender individuals in the military but continued to effectively target the majority or transgender people.
Trumps revised “new” policy states that any “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria – individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery – are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis justified the policy saying, “By its very nature, military service requires sacrifice.”
Mattis claims that allowing transgender individuals to serve “could undermine readiness, disrupt unit cohesion, and impose an unreasonable burden on the military that is not conducive to military effectiveness and lethality.”
in-short, under Trump’s revised policy, transgender military personnel will be allowed to serve as long as they do not request reassignment surgery or medication and are prepared to serve “in their biological sex” – effectively forcing transgender staff back into hiding.
Human rights groups have since been quick to point out that the policy currently has “no immediate effect” as a number of federal courts have issued nationwide preliminary injunctions blocking the ban.
The American Civil Liberties Union has described the ban as “transphobia masquerading as policy”.
“This policy effectively coerces transgender people who wish to serve into choosing between their humanity and their country, and makes it clear that transgender service members are not welcome,” a spokesperson adds.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin says “Donald Trump and Mike Pence are pushing their extreme anti-transgender prejudices onto the military over the overwhelming objections of bipartisan officials, national security leaders and the American public.”
“We will never stop fighting this discriminatory policy until every current and future transgender service member is treated equally and respected fully for their bravery.”
According to the Department of Defense, there are an estimated 15,000 transgender people actively serving in the United States military.