Washington, Aug 26: US President Dold Trump has signed a memo instructing the Defence Department to stop accepting transgender people into the armed forces, following through on his intentions announced a month earlier to ban such individuals from serving. The presidential memorandum signed on Friday officially requests the Pentagon to develop an implementation plan for the ban by February 21, 2018, to be put in place on March 23, 2018, reports The Hill magazine. The memo bars transgender people from enlisting, but instructs Secretary of Defence James Mattis and the Homeland Security “to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant”, according to a White House official. It orders the Pentagon to stop paying for gender reassignment surgeries, except in cases that are already in progress to “protect the health of an individual”.
Trump signs directive banning transgender military recruits
However, the official declined to say whether current transgender troops would be allowed to remain in the military or not, reports CNN. He rejected any notion that the memo amounted to discrimition against transgender individuals, and insisted that Trump was not walking back his rhetoric from the 2016 campaign when he vowed to fight for LGBTQ — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer — Americans. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” According to an official study, the number of transgender people in the US military currently is between 1,320 and 6,630. (IANS)