Trump signs memo banning transgender recruits

Aug. 25 (UPI) — President Donald Trump signed a memorandum Friday evening instructing the Pentagon not to allow people who are transgender to join the military, following through on promises he made last month not to accept them “in any capacity.”

The Department of Defense prohibited transgender individuals from serving openly in the military until June 2016, when the Obama administration repealed the law. Trump’s memo prevents the Department of Defense from moving forward with the Obama-era repeal.

In addition to preventing the military from recruiting individuals who identify as transgender, the memo says the Department of Defense may not use federal funds to provide medical treatment like sex-reassignment surgeries and medications.

“In my judgment, the previous administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the departments’ longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources, and there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year’s policy change would not have those negative effects,” Trump’s memo read.

The memo doesn’t make clear whether the Pentagon would allow transgender individuals already in uniform to continue serving.

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The move comes a month after the president posted a series of tweets revealing his intention to ban transgender troops.

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” he wrote. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

Earlier this month, more than 50 Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Defense asking it to refuse Trump’s ban, which they described as unconstitutional.

On Aug. 9, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Associates Defenders filed a lawsuit against Trump on behalf of five unnamed military service members. In the suit, they said the president’s July 26 tweets announcing plans to reverse the Department of Defense’s policy on transgender service members violates the Equal Protection component of the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment.

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