Late Friday night, President Trump pushed his proposed ban on transgender people from serving in the U.S. Military following a Pentagon review of his prior proposal. According to a new memorandum drafted by the White House on the matter, the new polices state “that transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” especially those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” will be “disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis, who froze Trump’s initial proposal in August so that an ongoing study could be completed, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen agreed with the review’s conclusions and thought the ban “should be adopted” by their respective departments. As Politico notes, this marks a significant departure from many military leaders’ response to Trump’s first ban, as they “[went] out of their way to defend the thousands of transgender troops who are believed to be serving in the military.” Even the Joint Chiefs of Staff came out against it at the time.
Celebrities, former politicians, and members of the U.S. military also protested the initial ban. Even so, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Friday said the “new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards… equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen.” Both her statement and Trump’s memorandum seemingly put the impetus on the mental health and well-being of the armed forces, though at the expense of its transgender members. Needless to say, people are not happy.
The ACLU reminded everyone that it had sued Trump over his proposed ban from July, which was summarily struck down by a federal court in October.
Meanwhile, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra declared his state “[will] take every measure available to prevent [Trump’s] discriminatory action that harms or marginalizes transgender servicemembers (sic).”