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Military leaders want a six-month hold on transgender enlistments

The Pentagon (David B. Gleason/Wikimedia Commons)
June 23, 2017

Heads of the United States Military will seek a six-month delay before allowing transgender people to enlist in the military, officials told the Associated Press.

The new request for a six-month hold will be put in front of Secretary of Defense James Mattis so he can make a decision, officials told the Associated Press.

Officials said that the six months will give the military additional time to determine if transgender troops are facing any problems and if any changes need to be made.

According to officials, the Navy said they would be ready to begin enlistment in July, but due to a Marine Corps request for more time, they asked for a one-year delay.

According to officials, Army and Air Force requests for a two-year wait were rejected by military leaders because it could be criticized in Congress as being a long wait time.

Military chiefs will seek to make it a requirement that transgender recruits have been stable in their gender identity for at least two years.

Last year, the military services were told to have policies in place that would allow transgender people to newly join the military, as long as they had been stable in their gender identity for 18 months and had passed medical, physical and other standards.

Officials said that military leaders are also seeking a policy review one year after the policy is put into effect, the Associated Press reported.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told a Senate committee last week that service chiefs believe that issues with recruiting transgender people need to be resolved before moving forward.

Transgender service members have been able to serve in the military openly since 2016, when Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Starting last October, transgender service members have been able to receive medical care and officially change their gender identity.

As many as 250 service members are currently in the process of transitioning or have been approved to change their gender in the Pentagon’s system, defense officials said, according to the Associated Press.