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Pentagon officially restricts some transgender troops from service

The Pentagon. (Senior Airman Perry Aston/Defense Department)
March 14, 2019

The Pentagon has implemented a new policy restricting transgendered individuals from serving in the military.

Under the policy, scheduled to take effect April 12, any individual receiving treatment for gender dysphoria will be disqualified from serving.

Gender dysphoria is the official term for a condition consisting of an individual’s conflict between their perceived gender and their sex at birth.

The policy establishes a distinction between transgendered individuals who have received a gender dysphoria diagnosis and treatment for their condition, and those who have not, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Individuals who identify as transgender but have not received a gender dysphoria diagnosis or treatment will continue to be eligible to serve, but only by their biological sex.

Those who have received treatment will be eligible to serve after they have been declared medically stable for a period of 36 months after treatment.

“I really don’t see any logic [in calling] this a ban,” a defense official said, adding that any transgendered individuals currently serving are considered “grandfathered or exempt.”

With that exemption, an estimated 8,000 transgendered troops will be unaffected by the policy, while only 1,000 who have received diagnosis and treatment could be affected.

Other estimates say up to 16,000 transgendered troops are currently serving.

“The President’s revival of his bigoted, disgusting ban on transgender service members is a stunning attack on the patriots who keep us safe and on the most fundamental ideals of our nation,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to the Associated Press. “The President’s years-long insistence on his cowardly ban makes clear that prejudice, not patriotism, guides his decisions.”

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 vote that the Pentagon can continue bans of transgender troops while lawsuits are ongoing.

The prior federal appeals court ruling decided that the ban was not a “blanket ban on transgender service,” and authorized military leaders to make decisions regarding policies for military service standards.

The Pentagon has spent $8 million on treatment for transgender troops since 2016.

Last year, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the policy to allow transgender troops was damaging to the military’s readiness and lethality.

After a months-long review of the issue, Mattis had determined that those diagnosed with gender dysphoria also experience dangerous side effects such as suicide, anxiety, depression and drug addiction, and that surgeries and therapies were not successful in alleviating these side effects.