Washington: United States President Donald Trump on Saturday approved new limits on transgender troops in the U.S. military, allowing most of them to remain in the ranks.
The Pentagon, however, could require them to serve according to their gender at birth.
The policy recommendation that President Trump approved flatly states, “transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition are disqualified from military service,” The New York Times reported.
But it also largely gives the Pentagon the ability to make exceptions where it sees fit.
The policy adopts recommendations that President Trump received from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
It comes after court rulings froze the president’s initial ban on transgender troops, issued in July 2017, as potentially unconstitutional.
“In my professional judgment, these policies will place the Department of Defense in the strongest position to protect the American people, to fight and win America’s wars, and to ensure the survival and success of our service members around the world,” Mattis had written in a summary of his recommendations to Donald Trump.
In August 2017, Trump had directed the Pentagon to reverse an Obama administration policy that had allowed transgender people, or those diagnosed with gender dysphoria, or had discomfort with their biological gender, to serve in the military.
However, in October, a judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia had temporarily blocked Trump’s ban and said the reasoning behind it was most likely unconstitutional because it represented a “disapproval of transgender people generally”.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had ruled that the military’s current policy should remain in place.
Meanwhile, Trump’s new order allows the defense secretary and the homeland security secretary to “exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals”. (ANI)