White House directs DOD on trans ban

The White House on Friday evening released its memo to the Secretary of Defense on how the military should implement President Trump’s declared ban on transgender people. The memo calls for banning any transgender persons from entering the military and banning any medical treatment of gender dysphoria for an existing transgender service member.

The memo sets the ban to begin on January 1 but states that the Secretary of Defense may advise the president at any time if he believes the policy should be changed. Otherwise, notes the memo, the ban will stay in place “until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating that policy and practice” would not have negative effects.

Trump’s memo says the Obama administration “failed to identify a sufficient basis” to change the DOD’s policy to allow transgender people to serves. The memo indicates Trump believes allowing transgender people to serve would “hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources…” It orders the regulation adopted in June 2016 to explicitly allow transgender persons to serve openly in the military be terminated beginning January 1. It also calls for “halt[ing] all use of DoD or [Coast Guard] resources to fund sex?reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel, except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex.”

The August 25 memo conveys the intent of President Trump’s July 26 Twitter postings, announcing his plan to ban transgender people from the military “in any capacity.”

Shannon Minter, head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) legal team, said “This is exactly what [President Trump] said he would do and what our lawsuit challenges—a new ban on military service by openly transgender people.  We are full steam ahead.”

NCLR and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed a federal lawsuit August 9, seeking a preliminary injunction to stop President Trump from implementing his proposed ban on transgender service members. The lawsuit also seeks a declaration from the court that the proposed ban is unconstitutional.

GLAD said the policy affects over 15,000 service members. A Rand Corporation study put the number at between 1,300 and 6,600. According to SPARTA, a national organization for transgender people who currently or formerly served in the military. “Most of the care transgender service members require can be handled by a general practitioner.” The Rand Corporation study estimated that only 29 to 129 service members “seek “transition-related care that could disrupt their ability to deploy.” Rand also estimated that gender transition-related medical expenses would amount to between $2 million and $8 million per year, “representing a 0.04- to 0.13-percent increase in active-component health care expenditures.”

President Trump’s memo directs the Defense Secretary to present a plan by February 21 for implementation of the memo’s directives, adding, “As part of the implementation plan, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military.” It states, “no action may be taken against such individuals under the policy set forth” in the memo until that implementation plan has been determined.

3 Responses to White House directs DOD on trans ban

  1. jayjaydubdub says:

    Don’t forget to include the portion of the Obama Administration’s study by the Rand Corporation on this issue, which points out that the amount of “Nondeployable” time for transgender people undergoing sex “reassignment” surgery is between 210 days (M-F) and 267 days (F-M) (pgs. 41-42).

    Plus 12-24 months of hormone therapy for M-F patients, “for optimal results.”

    Up to twenty percent of patients who undergo vaginoplasty have complications; Phalloplasty results in 25% complications (pgs. 41-32, Elders, et. al, 2014). That’s a lot.

    Nothing to sneeze at, even with such a small population.

  2. D Heller says:

    Thank you for your on going commitment thru the news service. As a supporter of GLAD I thank you again for your newsletter. I hope for all of us and for the country that GLAD’s and NCLR’s leadership (which undoubtedly has been and will be supported by so many of the organizations that stand for human and civil rights) will prevail.

  3. Lisa Keen says:

    Readers who would like to examine these and other very specific details, the full Rand report is available online at https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1530.html.

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