Trump Says Transgender Individuals Will Not Serve In The US Armed Forces
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is barring transgender people from serving in the military “in any capacity,” citing “tremendous medical costs and disruption.”
Trump’s announcement Wednesday morning on Twitter did not say what would happen to transgender people already in the military.
The president tweeted that after consulting with “Generals and military experts,” the government “will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
“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,” he added.
At the Pentagon, members of the staff of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appeared to have been caught unaware by Trump’s tweets.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, declined to answer questions about what Trump’s tweets mean for the current policy, including whether transgender people already serving in the military will be kicked out.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, called the move “a cruel and arbitrary decision designed to humiliate transgender Americans who stepped forward to serve our country.”
The Pentagon has refused to release any data on the number of transgender troops currently serving. A Rand Corp. study estimated that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members on active duty and an additional 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves.
Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Since Oct. 1, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.