In a move that could affect thousands of service members already serving the United States and stop thousands more from enlisting, President Trump announced via Twitter that, “After consulting with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government would not accept or allow… Transgender people 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 costs and disruptions that transgender in the military would entail.”
It is unclear how such a ban would affect the thousands of transgender people already serving in the U.S. military, but the series of tweets directly contradicts former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s 2016 statement, “that the Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now — the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” when the ban was lifted. Under Carter, the Department of Defense had first announced in July 2015 that they would lift the ban on transgender soldiers serving openly in the military.
On June 30, the Pentagon released this statement: “Secretary [James] Mattis today approved a recommendation by the services to defer accessing transgender applicants into the military until Jan. 1, 2018,” said Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana W. White. “The services will review their accession plans and provide input on the impact to the readiness and lethality of our forces.”