WASHINGTON — President Trump signed a directive on Friday instructing Defense Secretary James Mattis to revert to the nation’s longstanding ban on open “transgenders” in the U.S. military.
“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,” he wrote in a memo posted to the White House website.
He therefore directed the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security to “return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016 until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating that policy and practice would not have the negative effects discussed above.”
As previously reported, Trump first announced his decision to reinstate the transgender service ban on Twitter last month, advising that the Obama-era policy change is a distraction and would place a burden on the finances of the Armed Forces. The new policy included federal payment of the gender transition treatments and procedures of transgender service members.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgenders in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis had just issued a statement on June 30, outlining that the previous administration’s policy implementation deadline of July 1 would be pushed back six months to give additional time to determine whether or not allowing open transgenders to serve would negatively affect military readiness.
Reaction to the matter has been mixed, with Christian and conservative groups cheering the move and transgender advocates decrying the policy reinstatement as a let-down.
“The president’s order to remove transgender service members from the United States armed forces and deny them healthcare is nothing less than a purge,” OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn remarked in a statement.
“He is implementing this purge based on bigotry, motivated by agents of an ideology that has no concern for the national defense, and in blatant disregard of the experience of career officers who spent more than a year developing and implementing the current policy,” he asserted.
“Every cent spent on this politically-correct exercise is money that could prepare our troops for war. Every second wasted in ‘transgender sensitivity training’ is time that could be spent on the rifle range,” Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, the vice president of Family Research Council, also said.
“Every American should thank President Trump for boldly prioritizing our military’s war-fighting capabilities by lifting this unnecessary burden from those preparing and fighting to achieve victory,” he opined.
In his memo, Trump directed that no action be taken against those already serving in the military who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and those who have already been undergoing a gender transition must be allowed to continue. Mattis must submit a plan by Feb. 21 that includes information on how the Armed Forces will address those existing service members.