Transgender service in limbo while Pentagon waits for president’s guidance

Travis Air Force Base, Calif., hosted the first gay pride parade on a U.S. military installation June 20, 2014. More than 100 members and supporters of the Travis' Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance marched down Travis' main thoroughfare for approximately a mile. This year, the group will host a picnic, burger burn and movie night June 19 at Travisville Park. (U.S. Air Force photo by T.C. Perkins Jr.)

The Pentagon is expecting White House guidance in the coming days on how to implement a revised administration ban on transgender people in the military.

The policy is expected to allow Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to consider options such as a service member’s ability to deploy, whether to discharge transgenders from the military or letting them continue to serve.

The Wall Street Journal, citing U.S. officials familiar with a White House memo, reports the document also directs the Pentagon to deny admittance to transgender individuals and to stop spending on medical treatment regimens for those currently serving.

The revised policy, which reverses an Obama-era military policy in operation since last year, came in the form of a series of tweets from President Trump in July declaring that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in “any capacity” in the United States military.

The president said the new policy comes after what he called consultation with his generals and military experts stating, “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.”

Under guidance from the new memo, The Wall Street Journal reports, Mattis would be allotted six months to prepare to implement the new ban, according to officials.

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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