Pentagon to allow transgender military recruits
Enlistment will begin on 1 January despite Donald Trump’s ban
The Pentagon has announced that it will enlist transgender recruits into the US military from 1 January, despite a presidential memorandum from Donald Trump barring transgender people from serving.
The move comes following a decision in October by US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, which blocked the White House plan to exclude transgender people from military service from the beginning of 2018.
“The government had asked Kollar-Kotelly to put the 1 January date on hold while they appealed her full ruling but she declined Monday, reaffirming the 1 January start date,” the Associated Press reports.
The Justice Department filed an appeal yesterday to try to have the 1 January deadline put on hold. Spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam said in a statement: “We disagree with the Court’s ruling and are seeking to stay the Defense Department’s obligations under that ruling as we evaluate next steps.”
The Pentagon has issued a set of guidelines that could still stop potential recruits from enlisting after 1 Janurary.
“Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services,” The Guardian says.
That includes having been stable in their preferred sex for at least 18 months, and “free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas”.