James Mattis puts stay on transgender military ban, pending study

Casey Dawson
August 31, 2017

The announcement comes just days after President Donald Trump signed a memo directing the Pentagon to bar transgender people from entering the US military and directing Mattis to decide how to handle active-duty transgender troops. Trump's announcement that members of the transgender community would no longer be authorized to serve as USA soldiers caught the military top brass by surprise, and he followed it up by last week signing an executive order making official his decision to ban transgender military soldiers.

The defense secretary's statement yesterday said he will "establish a panel of experts serving within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president's direction".

If your facebook timeline is anything like mine, it spent the morning erupting with contradictory reports about the current status of Donald Trump's already-infamous ban on transgender troops serving openly in the military.

- Despite Trump's twitter claim that he had consulted with general and military experts on the ban, that turned out not to be the case.

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

"The government will have its hands full defending the notion that this is bad for cohesion", Yale military law professor Eugene Fidell said, particularly because it reversed a policy based on long-term study.

Carter gave one year for the Pentagon to study how to allow transgender individuals to join the military - referred to as "accessions". Though some stories came out announcing a "freeze" on Trump's ban of transgender people in the military, sadly, that's just not true.

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As Stern wrote, Mattis' actions fall squarely within the bounds of the White House memorandum directing him to act on this issue.

Mattis' statement puts President Trump's plan to ban all individuals who are transgender from the military on hold.

Replacing transgender service members would cost the US 100 times more than the annual cost of providing them transition-related care.

How many transgender service members are in the military? Mattis postponed that deadline in June, and Trump tweeted about his plans in late July.

It's official: After first announcing that transgender persons would be barred from serving in the military via three tweets last month, President Trump began formal implementation of this change on Friday by issuing a memorandum to the secretaries of defense and homeland security.

Trump signed the directive on Friday blocking new transgender recruits from joining the military and preventing the Pentagon from paying for medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals now serving in the military.

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