Trump Signs Transgender Military Ban But Gives Defense Chief Latitude

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed a long-awaited directive on Friday that precludes transgender individuals from joining the military but gives Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wide discretion in determining whether transgender personnel who are in the armed forces can continue to serve. A senior White House official told reporters that Mattis' decisions will be based on several criteria, including military effectiveness and budgetary concerns. The official also said the military would no longer pay for sex reassignment surgeries unless withholding such funds would harm the health of someone transitioning. Left unclear was how many of the thousands of transgender service personnel estimated to be in the military might keep serving. An estimated 2,000 to 11,000 active duty and reserve troops are transgender, according to a 2016 study by the RAND Corp. Although pressed repeatedly by reporters, the senior official declined to comment on the possibility that many or even all transgender individuals could continue to serve if Mattis declined to remove them.Mattis has six months to develop a plan to implement Trump's directive. The directive also applies to the Department of Homeland Security.From The New York TimesPosted by Breaking News editor Matt Peterson  Continue reading...

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