President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he is not allowing transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, a reversal of former President Obama’s decision last year to let them serve.
In a series of tweets, he said:
“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. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical cost and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Last year, former Defense Secretary Ash Carter issued an order that allowed transgender troops to serve openly and undergo gender reassignment surgery and formally change their gender in Pentagon systems.
But he gave the military services until July 1 to develop policies to allow individuals who already identify as transgender to join the military.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in June decided to delay that decision, giving the military service chiefs another six months to review whether allowing transgender people to enlist would affect the “readiness and lethality” of the force.
“After consulting with the service chiefs and secretaries, I have determined that it is necessary to defer the start of accessions for six months,” he said in a memo obtained by The Associated Press. “We will use this additional time to evaluate more carefully the impact of such accessions on readiness and lethality.”
Trump’s decision also comes after Mattis issued a series of other memos directing that decisions be based on whether it makes the military more lethal and is a good use of Pentagon funds.