- United States President Donald Trump has implemented anew a blanket ban on recruiting transgender members for military service.
- The new policy instructed the military to decline transgender applicants who would need or have already undergone sex reassignment surgery.
- The recommendation submitted by the Department of Defense claimed that allowing people who had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria might present substantial risks to the military.
United States President Donald Trump has implemented anew a blanket ban on recruiting transgender service members to the military.
According to the transgender news posted by BBC News on March 24, Trump signed a memorandum based on the recommendation made by Defence Secretary Jim Matthis, banning not only a select number of transgender people, but also almost renewing the same policy last year that was blocked by several federal courts.
Gender dysphoria and military service
The new policy instructed the military to decline transgender applicants who would need or have already undergone sex reassignment surgery.
While allowing state agencies some room for discretion, it would stop the acceptance transgender individuals who struggled with gender dysphoria from serving in the military with few exceptions.
Gender dysphoria is a medical condition where individuals suffer distress and discomfort because their gender assigned at birth does not correspond to their gender identity.
The recommendation submitted by the Department of Defense (DoD) claimed that allowing people who had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria might present substantial risks.
Additionally, giving them privileges by granting exemptions on existing physical, sex-based, and mental standards might negatively impact readiness and impose an unreasonable burden on the military.
Historically, the American military didn’t recruit transgender people until then-President Barack Obama opened the recruitment for them.
Trump’s policy also adopted the DoD’s recommendation in criticizing the Rand think-tank study, a paper that the Obama-era policy welcoming transgender service members to the military was based on, saying that it contained significant shortcomings.
The said study concluded that the presence of transgender people in the armed forces would have minimal impact on readiness and the overall healthcare expenses.
However, Trump would still allow trans people, even those with gender dysphoria, for as long as they were hired after Obama’s policy took effect. His new memo would also allow trans individuals without the diagnosis who are already in the service, but they will have to serve in their biological sex.
Politicians and advocacy groups blasted the ban.
US House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi characterized the action as the same cowardly, disgusting ban from last year, which meant to humiliate transgender military members.
The civil rights group, American Civil Liberties Union, on the other hand, decried that it was not based on evidence and a form transphobia disguising as a policy, which was reverse-engineered to serve Trump’s reckless and unconstitutional ban.
Last year, Trump announced his intention to ban transgender service people in a tweet, saying, “The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military.”
He was quickly challenged in federal court and the ban was blocked.