Transgender people allowed to enlist in military from January

Trump's tweets sparked protests this summer.
Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Pentagon announced Monday it will allow transgender recruits to enlist in the military next year, despite Trump’s efforts on Twitter in July to enforce a ban.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Maj. David Eastburn confirmed that transgender individuals will be able to sign up beginning Jan. 1 while legal battles continue.

The announcement comes as a federal judge denied a request from the Trump administration to delay an order requiring the military to begin accepting troops.

The new guidelines will make it challenging for transgender people to join, but not impossible, the AP reports.

Potential recruits would face a rigorous set of physical, medical and mental conditions and the Pentagon could disqualify recruits with gender dysphoria or a past medical record of gender transition treatments, according to Eastburn.

Individuals would need a certificate from a medical provider that they’ve been clinically stable as their stated gender for 18 months and are unencumbered with “significant distress or impairment in social, occupation or other import areas,” according to the AP. Those receiving hormone therapy must have been stable on medication for some 18 months.

The Obama administration announced in 2016 that the Pentagon planned to repeal its ban on transgender members on July 1. However, the process was delayed, and Trump ultimately argued against it once he took office.

Trump tweeted in July that the “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.” Shortly after his social media announcement CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller said the news caught the Pentagon by surprise.

Since Trump’s tweets several lawsuits have been filed against the ban from major groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU,) the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR,) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

Two federal courts have already ruled against Trump’s attempted ban.

One of the rulings included a requirement that the government allow transgender individuals to enlist from Jan. 1 and on Monday Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the District of Columbia struck down a government request to delay transgender enlistment.

“The court will not stay its preliminary injunction pending defendants’ appeal,” she wrote. “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 Defense Department is continuing to look at the issue.

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