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Trump does not ban the army from transgender people but severely limits access

Ⓒ AFP – Nicholas Kamm – | President Donald Trump at a press conference at the White House on March 23, 2018

US President Donald Trump gave up on Friday to impose its total ban on recruiting transgender soldiers, however, largely limiting access to the army to those who change their sex.

“I revoke my August 25 memorandum on transgender people in the army,” he said in a memorandum released late Friday by the White House, referring to the document ordering the Pentagon to stop recruiting transgender people .

Mr. Trump points out, however, that transgender people who “may need heavy medical treatment, such as medication or surgery, are disqualified for service in the military unless there are exceptional circumstances”.

“The Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Homeland Security, in the case of coastguards, can exercise their authority to implement any decision on service in the armed forces of transgender individuals,” Donald Trump adds.

The US president announced in a volley of tweets at the end of July that he intended to ban transgender people from serving in the army, thus returning to an emblematic announcement of his predecessor Democrat Barack Obama, who had decided that the army should start welcome transgender recruits as of July 1, 2017.

Jim Mattis had postponed this six-month deadline to “evaluate the impact” of this integration on the armed forces.

But the Republican President’s tweets had been sent out without coordination with the Pentagon and during the holidays of Mr. Mattis who had said he was waiting for the White House’s detailed instructions on this “obviously very complicated” subject before submitting recommendations to him before the end. February.

– “Disproportionate” medical costs –

Ⓒ AFP – Nicholas Kamm – | US President Donald Trump and his Secretary of Defense James Mattis at a press conference at the White House on March 23, 2018

On Friday night, the Pentagon released Mr. Mattis’ report to the President, in which the Minister of Defense distinguishes between transgender people who want to change their sex or have already done so, and those who identify themselves as victims. sex different from that of their birth, without however going to the medical treatments aimed at a change of sex.

The former will not be allowed to join the army, the latter will be able to serve as well as the others, says this document.

The document justifies this distinction by the risks posed by persons having changed their sex for the degree of preparation of the armed forces and the “disproportionate” medical expenses they would represent.

“By its very nature, service in the military requires sacrifice,” says Mattis, who is a former Marine General.

“Voluntarily committed men and women accept the limits imposed on their individual freedoms – freedom of expression, freedom of political engagement, freedom of movement – to ensure that American citizens fully enjoy their freedoms “adds Mattis.

For Joshua Block, of the American Union for Civil Liberties (ACLU), it is about “disguised transphobia”.

“This policy de facto obliges transgender people who wish to serve in the military to choose between their humanity and their country and makes it clear that transgender recruits are not welcome,” added Mr. Block, one of the association.

It is estimated that between 1,320 and 15,000 transgender people serve in the US military on 1.3 million active duty personnel.

Several transgendered soldiers have lodged a complaint against Donald Trump and the Pentagon. They denounced the uncertainty surrounding their future, including not knowing if they would keep their job.

Terms of service