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President Donald Trump announced today that transgender people may not serve “in any capacity” in the US military, citing the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” their presence would cause. In late June, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis delayed for six months a plan put in place under Barack Obama’s administration to start accepting transgender recruits.
An estimated 2,500 to 7,000 transgender people are among the 1.3 million active duty service members. “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,” Trump tweeted.
“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.” The issue of transgender rights in America has been increasingly in the spotlight in recent months, especially over how states regulate the use of public restrooms.
The Trump administration faced protests earlier this year after it reversed Obama-era federal protections that urged schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity, not the gender on their birth certificate.
Last month, the Pentagon said the five armed service branches could delay accepting transgender recruits until January 1 as they “review their accession plans and provide input on the impact to the readiness and lethality of our forces,” spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement. Last week, White explained that the different services were not in agreement on when to accept transgender recruits.
“The service chiefs all had to give their what needed- to-be-done timeframes” for integrating transgender troops, she told reporters.