Washington, 26 July 2017 — President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to
reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the US armed forces.
The decision will reverse a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President
Barack Obama, which was still under final review, that would allow transgender individuals to
openly serve in the military. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last month that he was
delaying enactment of the plan to begin allowing transgender individuals to join the US military.
“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,” Trump said in a series of tweets Wednesday morning. “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.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not have an answer on what would
happen to active transgender military members but said the White House and the Defense
Department would work together “as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.”
Sanders said transgender service “erodes military readiness and unit cohesion” citing health costs.
She said the move was based on a “military decision” and is “not meant to be anything more than
that”. Sanders said the decision was made based “on what was best for the military” and was made
in council with the President’s national security team.
Ash Carter, the Defense secretary under Obama, ended the ban on transgender people serving
openly in the military in 2016, but allowed for a year-long review process to allow the Pentagon to
determine how it would accept new transgender recruits into the military.
On the eve of that one-year deadline, Mattis announced that he was delaying the implementation of
the new policy, saying he needed more time.
“Since becoming the Secretary of Defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense
must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: will the decision affect the
readiness and lethality of the force?” Mattis said in a memo late last month. “Put another way, how
will the decision affect the ability of America’s military to defend the nation? It is against this
standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender
individuals into the military Services.” More information about the change will follow in the coming