On Friday evening, his favorite time to drop abominable news, Donald Trump issued a new memorandum that would ban nearly all transgender people from serving in the US military, including the Coast Guard.
The White House said transgender individuals with a history of gender dysphoria, defined as "those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery", would be disqualified from military service "except under certain limited circumstances".
But it gives the Pentagon and other agencies some discretion in the matter.
The only marginally okay thing in this hateful policy is that, at least, now serving members of the military who came out under the previous policy will be protected. That's all. This president will forever be remembered for his bigoted and spineless attacks on trans troops bravely serving our nation. Now, Trump has announced a revised policy that comes from the Pentagon: Transgender troops will be allowed to serve in the military, but they'll be required to serve according to the sex they were assigned at birth, not the gender they identify with.
"The policy effectively coerces transgender people who wish to serve into choosing between their humanity and their country", Joshua Block, a senior staff lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union's LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement.
The new guidelines are only somewhat less broad than Trump's first order, vaguely targeting most transgender people who require medical services related to gender reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.
Under guidelines presented in December, the Pentagon could disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, those with a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition and those who underwent reconstruction.
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Interestingly, the United States president's concern for "military effectiveness and lethality" has been discussed many times in the past after Trump was skewered by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill) as a "five time draft-dodger" who refused to serve his country, to stop lecturing about military needs.
The study estimated that health care costs would rise $2.4 million to $8.4 million a year, representing an infinitesimal 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase in spending.
The report found that allowing transgender people to serve openly would have a minimal impact on force readiness and healthcare costs.
"In short", Mattis concluded, "this policy issue has proven more complex than the prior administration or RAND assumed".
"In service to the ideological goals of the Trump-Pence base, the Pentagon has distorted the science on transgender health to prop up irrational and legally untenable discrimination that will erode military readiness", The Washington Post quoted Aaron Belkin as saying. It does not change the law or overrule the decision of the Department of Defense to allow transgender enlistees into the service, which was opened as of January 1, 2018. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump had rescinded his previous policy to allow this new policy to take its place.
But in the following months, multiple judges blocked Trump's ban as unconstitutional, preventing it from going into effect.
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