Pentagon To Allow Transgender Recruits

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The Pentagon will allow transgenders to enlist in the military starting Jan. 1, 2018 as part of a court ruling handed down Monday.

A court ruling has denied the federal government’s request for a delay on letting transgenders enlist in the military while an appeal is underway, as the judge in the case does not believe irreparable harm will come in the absence of a delay.

“In sum, having carefully considered all of the evidence before it, the Court is not persuaded that Defendants will be irreparably injured by allowing the accession of transgender individuals into the military beginning on January 1, 2018,” the ruling stated.

The Associated Press reported Monday that the Pentagon intended to allow transgender recruits, even though Trump is very much opposed to the decision. But the Pentagon is in effect simply complying with a court decision; namely, that no delay is possible.

Pro-LGBT lawyers argued in a filing Friday that a federal judge should throw out the government’s attempt to request a delay on transgender recruits joining the military. The lawyers made the case that the federal government’s motion to stay the order to accept transgender recruits into the military by Jan. 1, 2018, should be denied.

The lawyers argued that a delay on accepting transgender recruits would cause “serious irreparable harms,” and maintained that “Allowing the military to exclude transgender people from accessions while this case proceeds would subject all of the Plaintiffs, including those who are currently serving, to irreparable constitutional and other harms, including by ‘brand[ing] and stigmatiz[ing] Plaintiffs as less capable of serving in the military [and by] reduc[ing] their stature among their peers and officers.'”

The Pentagon under the Obama administration repealed the ban on transgenders serving openly in the military in June 2016, and set in motion plans to allow transgender individuals to join the armed forces in mid-2017.

However, in July 2017, Trump wrote a series of tweets saying he would not allow transgenders to serve, citing disruption to the military and high costs. An August directive to Secretary of Defense James Mattis prevents transgenders from joining the military, unless Mattis specifically recommends otherwise. The directive also prevents any Department of Defense resources from being used to fund sex reassignment surgery. The one exception for this rule is if an individual is already undergoing treatment.

Now, at least as far as transgender recruits are concerned, the Pentagon will allow enlistment at the beginning of 2018.

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