The Pentagon will allow transgender people to join its ranks, it announced Monday, after a judge’s ruling.
The Pentagon official tells The Associated Press that transgender people can enlist in the military beginning January 1, despite President Donald Trump’s opposition.
The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue and the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump’s demand to ban transgender individuals from the military. Two federal courts already have ruled against the ban.
Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services.
Maj. David Eastburn says the enlistment of transgender recruits will start Jan. 1 and go on amid the legal battles. The Department of Defense also is studying the issue.
Salute: Trump, who saluted a Marine after he stepped off Marine One on Sunday night as he returned from Mar-a-Lago, had banned transgender troops but the Pentagon will allow trans-enlistment
The Pentagon move was forced by a judge’s order denying a request by President Donald Trump’s administration to enforce his ban on transgender troops while the government appeals an order blocking it.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington refused to lift part of her October 30 order stopping the ban from taking effect until the case is resolved, because it likely violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law.
Several transgender service members filed a lawsuit after Trump announced in July he would ban transgender people from the military, citing concern over military focus and medical costs.
The move would reverse former Democratic President Barack Obama’s policy of accepting them.