March 24 (UPI) — The newest Trump memo bans transgender troops who undergo surgery or require significant medical treatment from serving in the United States military.
Under the language of the new memorandum, already serving transgender troops can remain in their ranks, but could be made to serve according to the gender listed on their birth certificate.
The memo from President Donald Trump adopts the policy recommendations made by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, the memo states: “Transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
The Pentagon will be given leeway to interpret and enforce the language offered by the memo.
While the memo largely credited Secretary Mattis as the architect of the new rules, a statement issued later by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed the new policy was “developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans.”
LGBT groups denounced the new policy, and a number of policy experts criticized the memo’s logic.
“There is no evidence to support a policy that bars from military service patriotic Americans who are medically fit and able to deploy,” Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, which studies sexuality and the military, told the New York Times. “Our troops and our nation deserve better.”
Trump attempted to ban transgender military service members last year, only to be denied by several court rulings. At least one transgender person successfully enlisted after the U.S. military was forced to lift the ban beginning Jan. 1. It’s likely the newest ban will once again face a number of court challenges.