Transgender policy won’t change based on Trump’s tweets, military leaders say

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There will be “no modifications” to the military’s transgender policies until Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has actually received implementation guidelines from the White House, a top military official wrote Thursday.

Marine Gen. Joe Dunford wrote in a message to senior enlisted leaders that the military will continue to “treat all of our personnel with respect,” according to Politico.

“I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President,” Dunford wrote in the message, according to Politico. “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.”

Trump said in a series of tweets Wednesday morning that he would be reversing an order made under the administration of former President Barack Obama to allow transgender people to openly serve in the military. Though Trump said he consulted with generals about his decision, the Pentagon was reportedly surprised by Trump’s statements.

The military was supposed to have fully implemented ending the ban on transgender people in the military by July 1, according to the Obama administration directive. Trump delayed that before his tweets Wednesday.

The Pentagon commissioned a six-month study before lifting the ban, estimating that transgender service member treatments would increase military health care costs between $2.4 million and $8.4 million, according to the LA Times. That constitutes a 0.13 percent increase.

Transgender men and women would have been required to wait 18 months after transitioning before being accepted into the military, under the Obama administration policy.

It’s unclear how many transgender men and women currently serve in the military, since they could be discharged if their status was officially known, but estimates put the number somewhere between 2,450 and 15,500. There are a total of about 1.3 million active duty service members.


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