U.S. military begins enlisting ‘transgenders,’ for now
WASHINGTON DC, January 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As of January 1, individuals who claim to be “transgender” are now allowed to enlist with all branches of the United States military.
The Trump administration has repeatedly attempted through the courts to delay the Obama administration’s June 2016 policy change opening the door to transgender individuals to serve openly in the military.
By late December, after a final attempt to delay was thwarted by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Pentagon announced it would comply with the Obama-era directives. The White House further announced that it would not ask the United States Supreme Court to stay the federal district court’s decision.
“We'll obey whatever the law says,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Pentagon reporters in a year end press conference. “It's a court case right now.”
According to a report on Military.com, Mattis sidestepped questions about whether he personally backed the enlisting of transgender recruits.
“I don't get into singling out and welcoming this group or that group, or that gender or anything else. That's not my role,” he said.
Last summer, President Trump tweeted, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military.”
The President added, “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
While the Administration has been unsuccessful in postponing implementation of the Obama-era directives via the courts, broader underlying cases opposing President Trump’s attempts to exclude transgenders from military service continue to make their way through federal courts.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” warned Shannon Minter, legal director at The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
Extra steps for transgender recruits focus on medical and psychological health
According to a policy memorandum regarding the induction of transgender recruits, if an applicant’s reported “birth sex” differs from his or her “preferred gender,” the recruiter must “obtain the letter/s from the appropriate licensed medical provider/s, attesting that the applicant has been medically stable.”
Additionally, for those who have undergone “gender reassignment surgery,” a period of 18 months must have elapsed since the most recent surgery and “no functional limitations or complication persist, nor is any additional surgery required.”
Perhaps the most telling, significant guidance in the memorandum focuses on psychological health, requiring that “transgender” applicants not experience “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”
Transgender activists declare temporary court victory a 'blow to Trump'
In the meantime, LGBT groups are praising the enlistment of men who think they are women and women who think they are men into ranks of the military as a triumph, declaring, “History is made today! Transgender Americans can (finally!) openly enlist in the US military.”
BREAKING: On January 1, #transgender people will be able to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) December 30, 2017
This is a blow to @realDonaldTrump's discriminatory #TransMilitaryBan. We will never give up the fight to #ProtectTransTroops. https://t.co/v3MHjKbw6d
“There’s nothing about being transgender that makes me any less qualified than anybody else to serve and I’m very optimistic that I will be allowed to serve.” -- Nicholas Talbott on enlisting in the military. He will apply first thing tomorrow. https://t.co/lD5Bes5qcc— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) December 31, 2017