"After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the USA government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military", the president said then, though the announcement seemed to catch the Pentagon off guard.
US President Donald Trump has pulled back from his blanket ban on transgender people serving in the military, giving the secretaries of defence and homeland security greater discretion over the issue.
The Department of Defense states that people who are going through a transition process, and therefore need relevant medical treatment, including surgery, "are disqualified for military service except certain limited circumstances". In the meantime, several top military officials and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tacitly criticized the ban, offering staunch defenses of the transgender men and women serving in uniform.
For right now, service members who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria before the start of President Trump's policy are safe, said Blake Dremann, president of SPART*A, an advocacy groups for gay, lesbian and transgender troops.
"This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards.equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen", it said.
The ban allows an exception for current medically stable transgender individuals who have not undergone gender reassignment surgery.
But the US Senate's top Democrat Chuck Schumer said the policy still amounted to a ban, calling it "yet another Trump-Pence decision meant to drive a wedge in our society".
In a memo to the president, dated February 22, Mattis cited "substantial risks" about military personnel who seek to change or who question their gender identity.
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"These documents set forth the policies on this issue that the Secretary of Defense, in the exercise of his independent judgment, has concluded should be adopted by the Department of Defense".
As noted by U.S. Rep. Dave Bratt, R-Va., during an appearance on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle", who was responding to a question of whether Trump was throwing this out as a concession to his base after signing the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill, people are exhausted of the U.S. Military being used as a laboratory for social engineering.
"Transgender persons without a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria, who are otherwise qualified for service, may serve, like all other Service members, in their biological sex".
The Democratic National Committee also weighed in late Friday, calling the decision "an insult to our courageous transgender service members and all who wear our nation's uniform", adding that "discrimination is not a national security strategy".
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.
"Currently serving transgender service members will continue to go to work every day as they have before contributing to the readiness and lethality of the force". "This is still a policy in search of a problem", said Natalie Nardecchia, a senior attorney with Lambda Legal.