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Pentagon Will Now Ban Most Transgender Troops from Military Service

03-13-2019
U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan
U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan

The Pentagon has approved a new policy that will likely bar transgender troops and military recruits from transitioning to another sex. It will also require most individuals to serve in the gender they were born in.
       
The memo comes after a long and complicated legal battle after President Donald Trump ordered an all-out ban of transgender troops last year.
       
This new memo falls short of a complete ban but will likely force the military to eventually discharge transgender soldiers who require hormone treatments or surgery.

The order says the policy must be implemented in 30 days. Transgender soldiers and new recruits who sign enlistment contracts by April 12  may continue plans for hormone treatments and surgery if they have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

After April 12, any transgender individual who is taking hormones or has transitioned to the opposite gender will not be allowed to enlist. Any currently serving troops will be required to serve in their biological gender and will not be allowed to take hormones or have transition surgery. 

According to the memo, anyone who is "unable or unwilling to adhere to all applicable standards, including the standards associated with his or her biological sex, or seeks transition to another gender" will be discharged. 

Transgender troops will receive counseling about their decision before they are discharged. 

In a statement Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the ban "cowardly."

"The President's revival of his bigoted, disgusting ban on transgender service members is a stunning attack on the patriots who keep us safe and on the most fundamental ideals of our nation," the California Democrat said. 

However, the Pentagon told the Washington Post earlier this year that the military will continue to treat all service men and women with respect. 

"As always, we treat all transgender persons with respect and dignity," Air Force Lt. Col. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said. "The Defense Department's proposed policy is NOT a ban on service by transgender persons. It is critical that DoD be permitted to implement personnel policies that it determines are necessary to ensure the most lethal and combat effective fighting force in the world."

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