James Mattis puts stay on transgender military ban, pending study

Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly | RAND - RAND Corporation

Mattis' personal views on LGBT persons serving in the military remain unclear.

A soldier based in Washington state and two young men who hope to enlist are among those challenging President Donald Trump's ban on transgender people joining the military.

In the defense secretary's official statement, Mattis said the department will "carry out the president's policy direction" and that the department will create a study and implementation plan "as directed" by Trump's memo.

Members will be tasked with developing a system to "promote military readiness, lethality, and unit cohesion, with due regard for budgetary constraints and consistent with applicable law". New transgender troops will not be allowed to enlist, but the Friday guidelines gave Mattis the discretion to study the issue and determine how to implement Trump's decision.

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Trump's guidance effectively returns the Pentagon to its pre-June 2016 policy when then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter allowed transgender individuals to serve openly, permitting the funding of treatments and gender reassignment surgeries.

The US President signed a memo last week reversing the decision made in 2016 under the Obama administration to allow transgender people to serve in the military, giving the Pentagon six months to come up with a plan for those who are now serving. Though some stories came out announcing a "freeze" on Trump's ban of transgender people in the military, sadly, that's just not true.

A highly cited RAND Corporation study previously concluded that transgender troops bring a negligible effect to the USA military in both combat readiness and military spending.

But, as part of that implementation plan, officials need to determine how to address transgender troops now serving in the military.

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The Senate is tentatively planning to take up the National Defense Authorization Act, a major defense policy bill, when the chamber returns from its month-long August recess, multiple Senate aides tell CNN, though the schedule has not been finalized. That ban will go into effect in about 7 months, on March 23.

How many transgender service members are in the military?

"Though Defense Secretary Mattis appears rightly troubled by the president's action, his statements do not change the directive nor has he been given the power to retain transgender service members indefinitely", Strangio said.

Trump's transgender military ban is another attempt to attack their validity as people and roll back the progress LGBT activists have made over the last several decades.

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