Pentagon Delays Move on Transgender Recruits

Defense chief Mattis postpones acceptance of them for another 6 months
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2017 5:31 AM CDT
Secretary for Defense Jim Mattis, center, arrives for a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 29, 2017.   (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

(Newser) – The military isn't quite ready to recruit transgender troops. A new policy allowing the Pentagon to do so was supposed to begin on July 1, but defense chief Jim Mattis said Friday night that it would be delayed six months, reports USA Today. A Pentagon statement said Mattis had approved a request by the military's branches to postpone the change in policy so they'd have more time to assess its impact on the "readiness and lethality of our forces."

An estimated 15,500 transgender troops are currently serving, per Politico, and Mattis' decision does not affect them. Critics of the move said it would force transgender recruits to lie if they want to join the military, just as Don't Ask, Don't Tell had forced gay recruits to hide their sexual identity. But Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., applauded the move, asserting that the idea of transgender recruitment is “ill-conceived and contrary to our goals of increasing troop readiness.” (Read more transgender stories.)

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