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BREAKING! Trump Just Signed It! It’s LAW!

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Earlier under President Trump’s administration, there was debate over whether LGBT individuals would be able to continue to serve in the military. However, the subject was pretty much dropped and has not been spoken of since. But a recent action by President Trump could change this result, and very quickly.

This past Friday the President authorized the Pentagon to prohibit transgender American citizens from joining the military. The President gave leeway in a limited exception. After the announcement, the White House press office released a memo detailing the reason behind the decision in the following statement,

“Among other things, the policies set forth by the Secretary of Defense state that transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”

While this might be concerning for some a Pentagon spokesman, Maj. David Eastburn, noted to the media that this announcement will have no practical effect on the military as of now. Furthermore, he indicated that the military will continue to recruit American citizens who identify as LGBT in accordance with federal and state law.

In addition to the White House and Pentagon, the Department of Justice issued a statement of their own where they defended the Pentagon saying,

“After comprehensive study and analysis, the Secretary of Defense concluded that new policies should be adopted regarding individuals with gender dysphoria that are consistent with military effectiveness and lethality, budgetary constraints, and applicable law.

The Department of Justice will continue to defend DOD’s lawful authority to create and implement personnel policies they have determined are necessary to best defend our nation. Consistent with this new policy, we are asking the courts to lift all related preliminary injunctions in order to ensure the safety and security of the American people and the best fighting force in the world.”

Last year, Trump tweeted out some statements of his own regarding the issue on his social media page,

Shortly after the announcement, Congressional Democrats and some non-profit organizations came out in opposition to the recent announcement. The Human Rights Campaign, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic National Committee, and high profile members of the Democratic National Committee all vehemently spoke out against it.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, DNC Treasurer Bill Derrough, and DNC LGBT Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes released a joint announcement in regards to the news saying,

“This decision is an insult to our brave transgender service members and all who wear our nation’s uniform. Instead of fulfilling his oath to protect the American people, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are putting our nation’s security at risk and shoving real American patriots back in the closet.”

Minority Leader Pelosi further said,

“This latest memorandum is the same cowardly, disgusting ban the President announced last summer. No one with the strength and bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are.”

The American Civil Liberties Union also took issue with the announcement and released comments of their own where they denounced the administration and called for the elimination of this prohibition saying,

“What the White House has released tonight is transphobia masquerading as policy. This policy is not based on an evaluation of new evidence. It is reverse-engineered for the sole purpose of carrying out President Trump’s reckless and unconstitutional ban, undermining the ability of transgender service members to serve openly and military readiness as a whole.”

Despite this announcement being made just this past week the Department of Defense had been researching the issue for months. A month ago, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sent the President a memorandum where he discussed his stance on allowing LGBT individuals into the military, specifically transgender individuals. The memorandum read,

“Based on the work of the Panel and the Department’s best military judgment, the Department of Defense concludes that there are substantial risks associated with allowing the accession and retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and require, or have already undertaken, a course of treatment to change their gender.

Furthermore, the Department also finds that exempting such persons from well-established mental health, physical health, and sex-based standards, which apply to all Service members, including transgender Service members without gender dysphoria, could undermine readiness, disrupt unit cohesion, and impose an unreasonable burden of the military that is not conducive to military effectiveness and lethality.”

Fox News reported,

“Trump’s push for the ban has been blocked by several legal challenges and the Pentagon began allowing transgender recruits to seek enlistment in January. A 2016 study by the Rand Corp. estimated that nearly 4,000 transgender troops were on active duty and in the reserves, Politico reported. But LGBT advocacy groups in the military put the figure at around 15,000, the report said.”

Since military agencies have indicated they will continue to recruit transgender individuals in accordance with federal and state law it is unclear what this announcement from the White House will actually do in the long run.

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