House Dems urge Trump to reconsider military transgender ban

by Garry Watts August 31, 2017, 0:56
House Dems urge Trump to reconsider military transgender ban

Trump claimed to have consulted with "generals and military experts" before announcing the ban but Pentagon officials were completely surprised with the policy change which was announced in typical Trump fashion, by a tweet.

Protesters take to the streets against President Trump's announcement to ban transgender individuals from serving in the USA military. However, this isn't a win.

There are at least three lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the president's ban.

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

In his update on the Pentagon's plan, Mattis said, "The department will carry out the president's policy direction, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security". And that's why Mattis ordered his study: to determine if new transgender recruits are worth that investment.

The announcement follows an order from President Trump - first announced in a tweet - declaring that transgender service members can no longer serve in the military, effectively reversing an Obama administration policy. Clearly, this isn't about the military needing money to take care of transgender soldiers.

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Tuesday night, after the Independent went to press, news broke that Secretary of Defense James Mattis had put a "freeze" on the ban, pending a six-month study and input from a panel of experts.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, introduced an amendment to the defense policy bill last month to block Trump's ban and added a Republican co-sponsor in Sen.

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. However, a quick scan of the numbers (and a study by the RAND group) shows that at most trans service people cost the military $8.4 million dollars a year in medical costs.

"It's not a surprise that there is considerable bipartisan concern about what's going on because the White House admitted that the original tweets were for an invalidly political goal, which is why you had eight senators from the Republican Party speak out", said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, which conducts research on sexual minorities in the military.

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

While some are hailing Mattis as a hero for not beginning the ban immediately, a look at President Donald Trump's August 25 memo shows that he is doing exactly what he was ordered to do.


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