House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ripped President Donald Trump for what she calls a “hateful ban” on most transgenders who want to serve in the U.S. military.
What did she say?
Pelosi wrote in a statement on Friday:
This latest memorandum is the same cowardly, disgusting ban the President announced last summer. No one with the strength and bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are.
The President’s hateful ban is purpose-built to humiliate our brave transgender members of the military who serve with honor and dignity. It will harm our nation’s readiness and hollow out our strength, for we only strengthen our military by honoring our values of freedom and equality.
LGBT advocates also criticized the move and predicted it will be constrained by existing court orders.
"There is simply no way to spin it, the Trump-Pence Administration is going all in on its discriminatory, unconstitutional and despicable ban on transgender troops,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement.
The White House issued a memorandum Friday based on policies by Defense Secretary James Mattis that state transgender people are "disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances," according to published reports.
On Friday, the Trump administration filed a memo in the U.S. District Court in Seattle that 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."
What does this mean?
The move means the Trump administration is still pursuing a plan announced in August to bar most transgenders from serving in the military. Trump has said he wants to return to a pre-2016 era in which transgenders could not openly serve. The policy also barred the military from paying for gender altering surgery. Exceptions were made if someone was already in the process of transitioning.
Those recommendations have led to a series of legal battles.
So far, at least one least one trans service member has gone through a gender-affirming surgery, Vox reported.
A 2016 Rand Corporation study estimated that there are approximately 1,320 to 6,630 transgender troops in the military. But the Pentagon has said it is not sure of the actual number.