Mattis keeps transgender policy in place during review
by Evan Wilt
Posted 8/30/17, 10:46 am
WASHINGTON—Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced Tuesday that transgender military members would remain at their posts pending further study. President Donald Trump signed a memo Friday blocking transgender Americans from enlisting but gave Mattis the responsibility of figuring out what to do with those already serving. Trump gave Mattis until Feb. 21, 2018, to establish a policy and until March 23, 2018, to enact it. Mattis said Tuesday he plans to assemble a panel of experts to review current transgender personnel. “Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of homeland security, I will provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction,” Mattis said in a statement. The Pentagon does not track the total number of transgender service members, but about 250 military personnel were either undergoing sex change treatment or had already completed treatment while serving. A 2016 Rand study estimated that between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender Americans were on active military duty. Trump first announced a ban on transgender service members in a tweet last month. His order reversed guidance from the Obama administration that allowed them to serve openly for the first time in 2016.
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Evan is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD reporter.