Transgender Recruits Can Enlist, Over Trump Opposition

Pentagon decision goes against wishes of the White House
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 11, 2017 12:55 PM CST
In this July 26, 2017 file photo, people with the Human Rights Campaign hold up "equality flags" during an event on Capitol Hill in Washington, in support of transgender members of the military.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – The Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite President Trump's opposition. The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue, and the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump's demand to ban transgender individuals from the military, per the AP. Two federal courts already have ruled against the ban. Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical, and mental conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services. Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, says the enlistment of transgender recruits will start Jan. 1 and go on amid the legal battles.

Eastburn said the new guidelines mean the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition, and those who underwent reconstruction. But such recruits are allowed in if a medical provider certifies they've been clinically stable in the preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas. Transgender individuals receiving hormone therapy also must be stable on their medication for 18 months. The Pentagon has similar restrictions for recruits with a variety of medical or mental conditions, such as bipolar disorder.


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