A month after he announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military via Twitter, Donald Trump has issued a memo on how the decision is to be implemented.
The two-and-a-half-page note says Defense Secretary Jim Mattis must consider a service member’s ‘deployability’ when deciding whether to eject them from the military.
That means that if they are unable to serve in a war zone, take part in training or serve on a ship for months, they must go, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Although it has not been spelled out exactly how the criteria will be assessed, it seems likely that the implication in the memo is that transgender people are non-deployable.
The policy, which gives the Pentagon six months to oust transgender service members and places a ban on new transgender hires, has met resistance from transgender representatives.
‘Transgender people are just as deployable as other service members,’ said Sue Fulton, the former president of Sparta, a military organization for LGBT people that advocates for open service.
‘Other service members may undergo procedures when they are at home base, just as other service members schedule shoulder surgery or gall bladder surgery,’ added Fulton, who achieved the rank of captain in the army, and is not transgender.
She said that there are no ‘ongoing treatments’ that would render transgender soldiers, sailors and pilots non-deployable.
‘Thus there’s no difference between the deployability of transgender service members’ and that of others, she said.
A Rand Corp study commissioned last year estimated that there were between 1,320 and 6,000 transgender people openly serving in the military.
Advocacy groups put the figure for those on active duty at 7,000 and total figures across all areas of the military at 11,000.
The Rand Corp survey noted that not all of them seek treatment – and those that do have treatment that would render them non-deployable are few in number.
Using surveys and private health insurance data, the study concluded that only 29 to 129 members in the military’s active component would be rendered non-deployable by their planned treatment. Full Report