Pentagon says transgender people can enlist starting in January, after court order

Pentagon says transgender people can enlist starting in January, after court order”

David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said the enlistment of transgender recruits will start January 1 and continue until such time as the courts rule otherwise.

Last week, the Pentagon said Tuesday it is preparing to accept transgender military recruits in the New Year following federal court orders that President Donald Trump can not ban transgender recruits from the military.

Last month, after a motion by the Trump administration, Kollar-Kotelly issued a follow-up ruling clarifying the earlier one that said the injunction means the military must accept transgender recruits by January 1, as it had planned to do prior to Trump's ban. On Monday, she declined a request from the Trump administration to lift the injunction based on the administration's argument it needs more time to prepare to process new transgender recruits for military service.

A federal judge cleared the way Monday for the Defense Department to begin taking in transgender recruits January 1.

But the AP's tweet failed to disclose that the Pentagon didn't decide to allow transgender individuals in the military.

"The Court finds that the policy prohibiting openly transgender individuals from serving in the military is likely unconstitutional", the court order read.

Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that could make it hard for them to join the armed services.

Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said the enlistment of transgender recruits will begin next month and proceed amid legal battles.

In a statement, the Defense Department acknowledged that it would comply with the court order, but that it meant to continue "actively pursuing relief". As part of rules instituted by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, applicants who have a history of gender dysphoria have to be "stable without clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning for 18 months".

Transgender individuals receiving hormone therapy also must be stable on their medication for 18 months. High ranking military leaders who oversaw training when the military made the first changes to transgender service policies have said the military is ready to accept transgender enlistees.

However, Elaine Donnelly, president for the Center For Military readiness, said Trump "has every right to review, revise, or repeal his predecessor's military transgender policies, which would detract from mission readiness and combat lethality".

"Especially in light of the record evidence showing, with specifics, that considerable work has already been done, the Court is not convinced by the vague claims in [the administration's] declaration that a stay is needed", she said. "That's really where the controversy will lie".

"It doesn't have any basis in science", he said, noting that experts have suggested six months is enough. "And that's a reasonable position and defensible".

"There is no valid reason to deny transgender people the right to serve their country".

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