A Halt for Now

Secretary of Defense’s six month analysis of Trump’s transgender ban

Payton Woodruff, Staff Reporter

Around late July, President Trump released a series of tweets coming as a shock to military leaders, people of the transgender community and Americans across the nation.

The tweets said, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.” He goes on to say, “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. Thank you.”

The tweets caught many off guard at the time, and it was not until late this August that the White House and the Department of Defense provided any official direction on what the president’s words would entail. Currently, the policy put in place by Trump is planning to stop the advances made in 2016, under the Obama administration, to allow transgender troops to serve openly in the military. According to the New York Times, “ Under the new policy, the military will be indefinitely barred from accepting new transgender troops, and new trans-related medical treatments will be locked.”

However, the president’s own secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, has put a halt on the ban for now. The halt was put in place because Trump has given Mattis six months to make the decisions on how to implement the ban and figure out what to do about the troops already serving openly in duty. On Tuesday, August 29, Mattis told reporters, “Our focus must always be on what is best for the military’s combat effectiveness leading to victory on the battlefield. To that end, I will establish a panel of experts serving within the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction.”

Once he has spoken to the panel, and they have evaluated all the information and statistics, they will move forward with a plan of action. However, for now, the ban is halted and transgender troops are continuing to serve their country along with their fellow Americans.