The Trump administration will provide guidance to the Department of Defense to implement a transgender military service ban. A newly disclosed White House memo has revealed that the guidance will be given within a matter of days.
On Aug. 23, The Wall Street Journal obtained a memo that detailed the Trump administration's plans for its ban on transgender troops. The White House will reportedly send guidance to the Pentagon that would give Secretary of Defense James Mattis six months to implement the ban, according to CNN.
Under the new policy, the U.S. military would be prohibited from accepting any transgender applicants. Mattis would be given the discretion to expel any currently serving transgender troops based on their readiness for deployment. The military would be prohibited from providing gender-transitioning medical treatments for transgender troops.
In June 2016, former Defense Secretary Ash Carter of the Obama administration lifted a longstanding ban on transgender Americans serving openly in the military, according to The New York Times.
The decision was informed by a Rand Corporation study that concluded transgender troops "cost little and have no significant impact on unit readiness."
On July 26, President Donald Trump took to social media to announce that he would outright ban transgender troops from serving.
"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," Trump tweeted out.
The announcement came as a surprise to the Pentagon. On July 27, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, issued a memo asserting that the ban would not be implemented until Mattis received thorough guidance from the White House, The Hill reports.
"There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president's direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance," Dunford wrote.
On Aug. 14, Mattis stated during a Pentagon press conference that he was examining the ramifications of the upcoming ban.
"There's a host of issues and I'm learning more about this than I ever thought I would, and it's obviously very complex to include privacy issues, which we respect," Mattis said. "I am waiting right now to get the president's guidance in, and that, I expect, [will] be very soon."
Several advocacy groups for LGBTQ service members voiced outrage following the latest memo disclosure. American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack issued a statement accusing the Trump administration of suggesting that transgender troops were less deployable than their peers.
"[Trump's] foolhardy assertion that transgender service members are not able to deploy is simply not rooted in fact," Broadway-Mack said. "Transgender service members are just as deployable as any other service member. These brave men and women are already risking their lives for this country around the world."
VoteVets, an advocacy group for military families, took to social media to blast the upcoming transgender ban.
"There's NO reason for a transgender ban," the political organization tweeted out. "Military isn't asking for it. Americans don't want it. This is about Trump embrace of hate. Period."
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton retweeted the VoteVets statement, simply adding: "Correct."