DoD To Allow Transgender Enlistments As Courts Tear Apart Trump’s Ban

news
DoD photo

The Department of Defense announced Dec. 11 that it will again allow transgender applicants to join the military starting Jan. 1, 2018, on the heels of a new court ruling against President Donald Trump’s announced ban on transgender service members.


Pentagon spokesman Maj. David Eastburn told the Associated Press that the service could still turn away candidates with “gender dysphoria,” but not if a physician certifies that the candidate has been “stable in the preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment” in every respect.

"Due to the complexity of this new medical standard, trained medical officers will perform a medical prescreen of transgender applicants for military service who otherwise meet all applicable applicant standards," Eastburn told AP.

That surprise move the military had previously said it would study the issue and put out recommendations by January came as a federal court dealt another blow to Trump’s demand for a ban on transgender people in the service, which he first handed down in a series of tweets last summer, a move that baffled lawmakers and military brass alike.

On Dec. 11, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly for the District of Columbia, who had previously ordered the Pentagon to accept transgender troops by Jan. 1, denied the Trump administration’s request to delay implementation of that order, the Washington Post reports.   

Given that the U.S. government has “had the opportunity to prepare for the accession of transgender individuals into the military for nearly one and a half years,” when then-defense secretary Ash Carter announced a pro-transgender policy shift in 2016, “the Court is not convinced by the vague claims in [the government’s] declaration that a stay is needed,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her decision.

A separate federal court in Baltimore had ruled in November that the Trump administration couldn’t withhold funding for already-serving trans servicemembers’ sex-reassignment surgeries, the Post reports.

Those court rulings, and Pentagon’s snap decision to reopen enlistments next month,  mean the next battle between administration lawyers and trans advocates “will not be about whether you allow transgender enlistees, it's going to be on what terms," Brad Carson — the former undersecretary of defense personnel and readiness who helped implement Carter’s pro-transgender policy in 2016 — told the AP. "That's really where the controversy will lie."

Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, a 3rd Infantry Division Soldier who was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment and killed in action in Iraq in 2003, is depicted in a photo illustration alongside the Distinguished Service Cross medal, which he is slated to posthumously receive for his heroic actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, April 5, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pa. (U.S. Army)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The U.S. Army has announced it will upgrade a former 3rd Infantry Division soldier's Silver Star to a Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery during the unit's "Thunder Run" attack on Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003.

Read More Show Less
KCNA

HANOI (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told the U.S. secretary of state he did not want his children to live with the burden of nuclear weapons, a former CIA officer involved in high-level diplomacy over the North's weapons was quoted as saying on Saturday.

Read More Show Less

An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.

Read More Show Less

Several hundred U.S. troops will remain in Syria after allied forces clear ISIS fighters out of their last stronghold in the country, officials said on Friday.

President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.

Read More Show Less
Chris Osman (Photo: _chris_osman_designs/Instagram)

The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.

"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."

Read More Show Less