On Friday, Donald Trump officially released a memo declaring that the military will not recruit or enlist any openly transgender individuals.
This announcement comes after he first tweeted back on July 26 that trans individuals were a “burden” the U.S. could no longer take on. But there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding the order and precisely how and when it will be enforced. So let us break down everything we know.
Trump released a memo — note, not an executive order — stating that he will be rolling back President Obama’s decision to allow trans individuals to serve openly in the military.
The 3-page memo had two major directives: (1) return to the old policy of prohibiting openly trans men and women from enlisting and allowing the military the ability to dismiss any trans military persons at their will and (2) stop funding for all sex-reassignment surgeries.
According to his tweets, Trump claimed that many military officials recommended this course of action. However, no such military officials have come forward to corroborate this story. Additionally, Trump claimed that the expense of sex-reassignment surgery was too much for the military. Ironically, recent reports indicate that the Department of Defense spends approximately $8 million on sex-reassignment surgeries and yet spends $84 million on erectile dysfunction medications.
As of now, there is no implementation plan, but there is a timeline. According to the memo, the government will stop paying for gender-reassignment surgeries as of January 1, 2018. As for the rest of the order, the Dept. of Defense is expected to submit an implementation plan by February 21 and the actual plan will take effect on March 23, 2018.
The reaction from both democrats and republicans has been horrified. Even high-ranking military officials have stated opposition to the order. After Trump first tweeted about the ban, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said,
“On a fundamental basis, any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military.”
Military members have yet to officially release a statement to the new memo.
Although the memo was just released on Friday, there is already word of many lawsuits brewing, including one coming from the ACLU. After news spread about the trans ban, the ACLU tweeted, ” We’ll see you in court.”