Despite ban, first transgender recruit signs up with the military

In uniform, Capt. Jennifer Sims back in July 2017. Photo from
  • The US military confirmed first transgender recruit amidst the controversy of transgender military ban.
  • The unnamed service member qualified for the post by meeting all standards for the service and then signed a contract.
  • The new trans recruit has yet to start the basic training.
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The United States military confirmed it has signed the first transgender soldier amidst the controversy of transgender military ban that is still being deliberated in the court.

According to transgender news article by CNN posted on February 26, the Pentagon announced that a transgender person signed a contract to be part of the military. This latest development was prompted by a court decision that ruled the military must begin to accept transgender applicants, overturning the policy of President Donald Trump in preventing trans members from serving last year.

Transgender military ban

Major Dave Eastburn confirmed the news by saying, “The Department of Defense confirms that as of February 23, 2018, there is one transgender individual under contract for service in the US Military.”

The unnamed service member qualified for the post by meeting all standards for the service and then signed a contract. The trans person has yet to start the basic training.

President Trump famously announced his intention to stop recruitment of transgender people from serving in the military in a post on his Twitter page on July last year.

“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 U.S. Military,” he wrote. “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.”

The President wrote the tweets less than a month into the Defense Secretary James Mattis’ six-month review period on transgender service members. Last week, Mattis forwarded his recommendations to the President over the future of transgender military members.

“We are waiting for the President to make a decision based on the Secretary’s recommendation,” Col. Rob Manning, Pentagon spokesperson, told reporters. “Conversations between the Secretary and the President are confidential and will remain private.”

Court decisions

When Trump signed a memo directing the top brass of the military to study how the ban will be implemented, lawsuits were filed, drawing support from the state of California and attorneys general representing various states across the country.

Federal courts have ruled to block the ban.

In addition, the court ruled that the military must open its doors to transgender recruits starting January 1 of this year.

Dana White, chief Pentagon spokesperson, said, “This is a complex issue. And the secretary is taking his time to consider the information he’s been given. It’s an important issue, and again, he sees all of his decisions through the lens of lethality.”

Historically, transgender people had not been permitted to serve in the armed forces, but then-President Barack Obama issued a directive reviewing existing policies to allow their recruitment and training to join the military.


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