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Latest orders: Trump issues broad ban on transgender people in the military

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(G.N.S) Dt. 24
Washington
President Donald Trump has banned transgender people from the US military in most circumstances, the latest in a series of actions that may resonate with his most ardent supporters as crucial midterm elections approach. Following up on his controversial proposal last year that sparked widespread backlash by LGBT rights groups.
In his presidential memorandum, Trump said transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — those who may require substantial medical treatment — are “disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
The memo did not elaborate on possible exceptions, but said the secretary of defence and secretary of homeland security “may exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals”.
Trump’s statement was immediately denounced by civil-liberties groups and Democratic leaders, and capped a week in which he touched off a confrontation with China by following through with his campaign pledge to impose sweeping tariffs on Chinese imports, and ousted his national security adviser, who had been seen as a moderating influence, in favour of John Bolton, a hero of the right.
He allowed those transgenders who are already in the military to continue with their service.
Trump said in the statement late Friday that “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria—individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery—are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
Trump had signed a memorandum in August last year that barred transgender people from the armed forces, but it was blocked in court two months later after transgender troops took the policy to court.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump had rescinded his previous policy to allow this new policy to take its place.
Citing threats to troop readiness and morale, as well as costs associated with medical services, Trump said in a series of tweets in July that he would reverse President Barack Obama’s policy allowing transgender people to join the armed forces.
The new policy, the White House said, was “developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans,” under the direction of Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“I hereby revoke my memorandum of August 25, 2015 and any other directive I may have made with respect to military service by transgender individuals, Trump said in the memorandum.
The memo said the experts’ study sets forth a policy to enhance US military’s readiness, lethality, and effectiveness.
“On the advice of these experts, the Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of Homeland Security have concluded that the accession or retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoriathose who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgerypresents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality, the White House said.
This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standardsincluding those regarding the use of medical drugsequally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen, memo said.
The Democrats slammed Trump for his new policy on transgender. In a Department of Defense memorandum to the president dated that was dated 22 February, defence secretary James Mattis said that after studying the question, the Pentagon “concludes that there are substantial risks associated with allowing the accession and retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and require, or have already undertaken, a course of treatment to change their gender.”
Mattis recommended, however, that service members “who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria since the previous administration policy took effect and prior to the effective date of this new policy, may continue to serve in their preferred gender.” He also said that exceptions could be granted for people “who have been stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession;” or had been “diagnosed with gender dysphoria” after they entered the military but did not require a change for gender.
Opponents, some of whom had been fighting the administration in court, quickly responded to Trump’s latest statement.
“This latest memorandum is the same cowardly, disgusting ban the President announced last summer. No one with the strength and bravery to serve in the US military should be turned away because of who they are, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said.
“The President’s hateful ban is purpose-built to humiliate our brave transgender members of the military who serve with honor and dignity. It will harm our nation’s readiness and hollow out our strength, for we only strengthen our military by honoring our values of freedom and equality.
“Once more, the President’s agenda of hate and prejudice is dictating our national security, instead of honor, decency and strength, she said.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said his State will take every measure available to prevent Trump’s discriminatory action that harms or marginalizes transgender service members or any other transgender Americans who wish to courageously defend the nation.
We must honor all those who serve in our military and sacrifice their lives to fight for the safety of our nation, he said.
Aaron Belkin, the director of the Palm Center, a California-based institute that researches the military service of sexual minorities, said there was “no evidence to support a policy that bars from military service patriotic Americans who are medically fit and able to deploy.”
Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat and the House minority leader, called the ban “cowardly, disgusting.”
“No one with the strength and bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are,” Pelosi said in a statement.
In the 2016 campaign, Trump actively sought the support of socially conservative groups, some of whom supported the bathroom access restrictions, while also promising to “fight for” the gay and transgender community.
Gregory T. Angelo—president of Log Cabin Republicans, a group that advocates for equal rights for the LGBT community—said in a statement that the policy appeared to allow “continued open service of current transgender soldiers,” tantamount to an admission by the Pentagon that “there is ultimately no difficulty with the status quo” and that the policy is reverse engineered and may succeed only in “stoking culture wars.”
Joshua Block, a Senior Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & HIV Project, said what the White House has released is transphobia masquerading as policy.
This policy is not based on an evaluation of new evidence. It is reverse-engineered for the sole purpose of carrying out President Trump’s reckless and unconstitutional ban, undermining the ability of transgender service members to serve openly and military readiness as a whole, Block said.
This decision is an insult to our brave transgender service members and all who wear US uniform, said the Democratic Party.
Instead of fulfilling his oath to protect the American people, Donald Trump and Mike Pence are putting our nation’s security at risk and shoving real American patriots back in the closet, it said.
Civil rights advocates said while some transgender service members might be permitted to continue to serve under the announced policy, the exceptions seemed unclear and the policy was likely to foster a hostile climate for those who seek to continue to serve. They said they would continue to fight the policy in the courts.
At least four lawsuits have been filed seeking to overturn the ban, and several courts issued preliminary injunctions while the cases proceed. In November, US district judge Marvin Garbis in Baltimore, called the president’s tweets announcing the change in policy “capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified.”
And last week, a federal judge in Washington said that the Trump administration had failed to identify evidence it might use to defend the policy.
That judge, Marsha Pechman, criticized the administration’s earlier claims that no such information could be identified because the policy was not in effect.

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