Trump Issues Broad Ban on Transgender People in the MilitaryBy
Move sparks immediate outrage from advocacy groups, Democrats
At least four lawsuits have been filed to overturn the ban
President Donald Trump moved to ban transgender people from the U.S. military in most circumstances, the latest in a series of actions that have met resistance from courts though may resonate with his most ardent supporters as midterm elections approach.
Trump’s statement was immediately denounced by civil-liberties groups and Democratic leaders. It capped a week in which the president followed through with his campaign pledge to impose sweeping tariffs on Chinese imports, and ousted his national security adviser, who was seen as a moderating influence, in favor of John Bolton, a hero of the right.
Trump said in the statement late Friday that the new policy would bar those with gender dysphoria. The term describes transgender persons uncomfortable with their biological sex, resulting in significant distress or difficulty functioning, according to a Feb. 22 memo to the president from Defense Secretary James Mattis. Persons with gender dysphoria "may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery," Trump said in his statement.
“Transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition are disqualified from military service,” according to the Mattis memo.
The plan is less broad than a ban the president proposed in July that touched off a legal confrontation and reignited a cultural debate that has already seen fierce disagreements and campaigns in some states to require that students use school restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth.
The administration Friday asked a federal court in Maryland to lift its order against Trump’s prior transgender policy, saying that “far from a categorical ban,” the new rules would turn on gender dysphoria and contain “nuanced” exceptions allowing some transgender individuals to serve. The administration asked for a ruling from U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis in Baltimore by May 23.
In announcing the earlier ban with a flurry of tweets in July, Trump cited threats to troop readiness and morale, as well as costs associated with medical services as reasons to reverse President Barack Obama’s policy allowing transgender people to join the armed forces.
In August, Trump followed with a directive to the military to reject openly transgender people as new recruits, and for Mattis to decide how to handle transgender personnel already serving in the armed forces.