After a federal judge again ruled against the Trump administration's ongoing attempt to ban trans people from the military on Monday, a Pentagon official told the Associated Press that the military will begin accepting trans recruits on January 1, 2018, regardless of continuing legal battles. The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought on behalf of six service members and two recruits by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.
From The Hill:
In the motion, administration lawyers argued that the military will be “seriously and irreparably harmed if forced” to implement the policy by Jan. 1, saying that people involved in recruiting haven’t had enough time to be trained in the “complex and multidisciplinary nature” of transgender medical issues.
But lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case argued the Pentagon has had plenty of time to prepare. They submitted a sworn statement from Obama administration Navy Secretary Ray Mabus saying the work on lifting the accession ban was largely done by the time he left office last January.
[Judge] Kollar-Kotelly sided with the plaintiffs, saying the Pentagon has had more than a year and a half to prepare since the Obama administration first announced the enlistment ban would be lifted.
According to Pentagon guidelines, trans folks can still be disqualified unless a health care provider can certify that the enlistee has been "clinically stable" in their desired gender for a year and half and do not have "significant distress" related to gender dysphoria.
"Due to the complexity of this new medical standard, trained medical officers will perform a medical prescreen of transgender applicants for military service who otherwise meet all applicable applicant standards,’’ Major David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, told the AP.
In his July tweet announcing the ban, Trump cited "tremendous medical costs and disruption" of allowing trans people to serve. According to a Rand study, treating trans service members would cost the military between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, or about a tenth of the $84 million the military spends each year on Viagra.
Congratulations to trans folks in the armed services, who, as the saying goes, will soon be able to join the miltary, travel the world, meet interesting people, and kill them.