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AP Explains: Trump’s policy on transgender troops

PALM BEACH, Fla. President Donald Trump has issued an order to support his push to ban the most transgender troops from serving in the U.S. army, except under “limited circumstances.” But the decision is expected to be the subject of an ongoing legal battle in the coming months.

The White House announced the decision late Friday, shortly after the president came into his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, the completion of a process that followed Trump’s surprise announcement on Twitter last year that he would reverse an Obama administration plan to allow transgender people to serve openly.

In a memo to the president, the Minister of Defense of Jim Mattis pointed to “a substantial risk” with the possibility for military personnel who are trying to follow a treatment at the change of their gender, or who doubt their sexual identity.

Mattis also said that the exemption in the army of the “well-established mental health, physical health, and sex on the basis of the standards are applicable to all members could hurt military effectiveness and lethality.” But the policy contains narrow exemptions allowing some transgender members to serve.

The Pentagon has not released data on the number of transgender people serving, but a Rand Corp. study was previously estimated to be between 1,320 and 6,630, out of 1.3 million active-duty troops.

Various legal challenges have blocked Trump’s efforts to establish a ban, and four federal courts have already spoken out against the ban. The Pentagon responded to this need to stay in the military, and began allowing transgender people to call early Jan. 1.

Civil rights lawyers said they would continue the legal battle, which could eventually reach the Supreme Court.

Before the policy was announced on Friday, Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said it would have no immediate practical effect on the military, because the Pentagon is obliged to continue to attract and retain transgender persons in accordance with the current law.

HOW THE POLICY WORKS

Mattis wrote in the 48-page memo that the AMERICAN troops that need it, or all gender reassignment surgery should be disqualified from military service.

Service members with a history or diagnosis of “gender dysphoria”, or those with a discomfort with their biological sex, would also be prohibited — but, with some exceptions.

Current transgender service members who have not yet undergone the allocation surgery be allowed to remain in the army, as long as they are medically stable 36 consecutive months in their biological gender before joining the army and be able to deploy all over the world.

It is also a currently serving service members to continue as they had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria since the Obama administration policy is in force and prior to the start of the new Asset policy. These service members are allowed to serve in their desired gender, and medical treatment for gender dysphoria.

THE ROAD TO THE DECISION

During u.s. President Barack Obama’s last year in office, the Pentagon announced that it would allow transgender people to serve openly in the military and service members may not be dismissed solely on the basis of their gender identity.

The process was still under final review as Trump take office. Mattis announced in June 2017, that he would delay adoption of the policy for six months, while the military studied the issue.

Trump in July 2017 declared on Twitter that the U.S. is not the “accept it or leave … transgender persons to serve in any capacity” in the army. The tweets caught the Pentagon off guard, and were followed by the review of the policy.

The president received the recommendations of Mattis in February for dealing with transgender individuals to serve in the army, leading to Friday’s announcement.

LEGAL CHALLENGES

Various legal challenges to the Strengths of the proposed ban are ongoing. At least four federal judges have refused to allow the prohibition of force. By the injunctions, the Pentagon is allowing transgender persons in the service since January.

One of the forefronts of the legal battle in California, where a federal judge rejected a Trump administration attempt to throw out a lawsuit asking for the ban to be destroyed. California attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said on Friday that the state would go on to vigorously defend the rights of transgender persons.”

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, meanwhile, said they would seek a permanent ban on the Tuesday before a federal judge in Seattle.

The Ministry of Justice said in a statement late Friday that the defence of the Pentagon authority to carry out policy they have adopted, are the best defending our nation” and asked the court to lift all preparatory commands.

REACTION OF TRUMP’S PLAN

The response to the White House announcement has largely fallen along partisan lines, with Democrats and civil rights groups who are against the plan, and the Republicans, conservatives, and the approval of the.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California called it a “hateful prohibition” aimed at humiliating transgender members of the military.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative group Family Research Council, said Trump had kept his promise to “end the Obama era of social experiments in our nation’s military” and the policy would move the military away from ” political correctness.”

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Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter https://twitter.com/KThomasDC

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