Judge: Trump Can’t Halt Funding For Military Sex Change Surgeries

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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The Trump administration cannot deny funding for sex reassignment surgeries for active duty military members until the official guidance goes into effect in 2018, U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis of Maryland ruled Wednesday.

President Donald Trump abruptly announced his attention to bar all transgender service members from the U.S. military in late July on Twitter.

The White House later issued guidance to Secretary of Defense James Mattis who noted in his interim August guidance to the Department of Defense that existing transgender service members with a diagnosis of gender dysmorphia from a military medical provider will continue receiving paid treatment, but added that new sex reassignment surgeries will not be paid for after March 2018.

Judge Garbis ruled, however, that transgender service members awaiting “are already suffering harmful consequences such as the cancellation and postponements of surgeries, the stigma of being set apart as inherently unfit, facing the prospect of discharge and inability to commission as an officer, the inability to move forward with long-term medical plans, and the threat to their prospects of obtaining long-term assignments.”

The judge issued his ruling on behalf of transgender service members unable to obtain a sex re-assignment surgery date before official policy takes effect in March 2018.

Mattis clarified in his original guidance that no transgender service members will be separated from the military in the interim. To develop more permanent guidance, Mattis announced in late August he would “establish a panel of experts serving within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction.”

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