Rights groups slam Trump's ban on transgender military service

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House Thursday

After taking office in early 2017, Mattis in June delayed the deadline for accepting new recruits another six months, just before President Donald Trump declared in a surprise tweet in July that transgender individuals would no longer be able to serve in the military "in any capacity".

The White House tonight released a memorandum that introduces a policy to ban most transgender people from serving in the United States military.

Citing "substantial medical treatment", the president announced on Friday that he is officially authorizing the Pentagon to disqualify "transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria", with limited exceptions, Fox News reported.

In a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, she explained that the president rescinded his previous ban on all transgender individuals in the military - a move that has been held up in court since its inception - in order to defer to Mattis' policies.

The order has enraged the Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual and Transgender community.

The new policy, according to the ACLU memo, "effectively coerces transgender people who wish to serve into choosing between their humanity and their country, and makes it clear that transgender service members are not welcome".

"This Trump-Pence plan categorically bans transgender people from service, with no legitimate basis", added Jennifer Levi, transgender right project director for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, in a statement.

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There are some exceptions to the restrictions: people who have a history of gender dysphoria may join the military if they "can demonstrate 36 consecutive months of stability - i.e. absence of gender dysphoria - immediately preceding their application", the report said.

The president signed on Friday a memorandum, veto, which has been frozen in the courts since last December, but refers to a new policy recommended by the Pentagon that also represents a serious blow to the weakest link in the country, the LGTB community.

In 2016, after careful and deliberate study, the Pentagon determined that the prohibition on open service by transgender people lacked any foundation and lifted the ban.

A Defense Department spokesman said the Pentagon would "continue to assess and retain transgender service members".

In a statement, Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said administration's new plan "solves nothing". He accused the Obama administration of allowing transgender military service without identifying a "sufficient basis" that doing so would not "hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources", and he directed Mattis to have the Pentagon adopt a new ban similar to the military's former policy by Friday. A Rand Corp study estimates there are 2,500 transgender personnel serving in active duty, and 1,500 in the reserves.

The decision comes after Trump's initial pledge was severely criticized by LGBTQ rights groups and top military officials, including most members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "We will never stop fighting this discriminatory policy until every current and future transgender service member is treated equally and respected fully for their bravery".

The government wanted to keep the veto in force while it appealed the ruling, but in December the judge ratified it and the Pentagon is, in fact, complying with the law of the judicial resolution.

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