Trump Administration's Transgender Military Ban Goes into Effect

US Navy sailors at John McCain's funeral

US Navy sailors at John McCain's funeral

President Trump's controversial ban on most transgender people from serving in the armed forces took effect Friday amid protests by advocacy groups. He said anyone "currently serving or anyone under contract to enter the military who has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria is grandfathered".

But starting Friday, those who are newly diagnosed with gender dysphoria may be discharged if they are "unable or unwilling to serve in (their) biological sex", the Pentagon says. Tony Kurta, who is performing the duties of the deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told reporters that the decision was rooted in a study launched by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis after top military leaders raised questions about transgender military troops' service.

Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of AMPA, called the start of the ban "an incredibly dark chapter in our nation's history", and slammed Trump for implementing "an unconscionable ban on our courageous transgender service members and qualified recruits who want to serve".

The policy prevents transgender troops from serving openly in their preferred gender unless they have already been diagnosed with gender dysphoria or have medically transitioned.

"As many as 15,000 transgender service members stand to lose their jobs", Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King, who is transgender, told ABC News this week.

The lies perpetuated about transgender people serving in the military have been thoroughly debunked and rejected by medical experts, by budget analysts, by military generals and admirals, by the vast majority of the American people, and, not least, by a history of Americans who have been barred from service and proved bigots wrong.

The military defines gender dysphoria as "a marked incongruence between one's experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender ... associated with clinically significant distress and impairment of functioning", according to the Defense Department guidelines.

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2020 Democratic presidential contender and openly gay veteran of the War in Afghanistan Mayor Pete Buttigieg also slammed the Commander-in-Chief, suggesting that Mr. Trump, "a president who pretended to be disabled in order to avoid serving when it was his turn" was "destroying" the careers of trans service members. Of those, 1,000 say they have undergone gender reassignment surgery or want to.

The policy will be reviewed in two years, he said. "DoD will take no actions exclusively based on gender identity", Kurta said. Implementing this policy erodes our democracy & seriously weakens our military.

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and can not be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail", the president said. "There is a global medical consensus about the efficacy of transgender health care, including treatment for gender dysphoria".

The American Military Partner Association, an organization for LGBTQ military families, said the implementation of the directive is "dragging us backward into the dark days of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'".

"By taking steps to implement its ban on open and authentic military service, the Trump-Pence Administration has definitively affirmed that when it comes to our national security, they hold unsubstantiated and discriminatory claims as more important than effectively and efficiently completing the mission", said OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Andy Blevins.

"Thousands of transgender servicemembers and qualified recruits are willing to risk their very lives for our nation, and we will not stop fighting to reverse this unconscionable ban until they are once again able to serve openly and authentically as they deserve", the statement read.

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