Trump signs directive to ban transgender military recruits
US President Donald Trump directed the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, following through on his intentions announced a month earlier to ban transgender people from serving.
The presidential memorandum also bans the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals currently serving in the military.
Trump also directed the departments of Defense and 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," the White House official said.
Reacting to this move, Democrats said this directive was "cruel" and meant to "hurt and humiliate" the soldiers. Trump on Friday formally signed a memorandum, a copy of which was released by the White House, directing the Secretary of Defence, Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the US Coast Guard, to return to the longstanding practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place before June 2016.
Trump alleged in the memo that his predecessor Barack Obama dismantled the Defence Departments' established framework by permitting transgender individuals to serve openly in the military, authorising the use of its resources to fund sex-reassignment surgical procedures, and permitting accession of such individuals after July 1 this year. "In my judgement, the previous administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the departments' longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources, and there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year's policy change would not have those negative effects," Trump said.
The memo requests the Pentagon to develop an implementation plan for the ban by February 21, 2018, which should be put in place on March 23, 2018.
Criticizing the decision, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump's memorandum is ordering the Pentagon to "hurt and humiliate thousands of Americans who serve in US military with strength and courage". "Prejudice, not national defence, is behind President Trump's cruel decision to kick transgender troops out of the military," she said. "A study commissioned by the Department of Defence itself found that the cost of providing medically necessary care for transgender troops would be miniscule. In fact, every year, the Pentagon spends five times more on Viagra than they would for transition-related care," Pelosi said.
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler said that military service is a privilege, not a right. "I'm pleased to see the president putting military readiness first and making sure our defence dollars are spent keeping us safe. With the growing threats from Iran, North Korea, China and others, the US military cannot afford to divert precious defence dollars from our national security," she said.
OneIndia News (with agency inputs)