President Trump tweeted Wednesday that transgender people will not be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. Military. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, there are more than 15,000 transgender Americans currently serving.
This decision reverses Barack Obama's approved request in June of last year for the Pentagon to lift its ban on transgender soldiers. After being delayed by Trump's Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, the President has decided to reimplement the ban.
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"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," Trump tweeted. "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."
Ash Carter, the Defense secretary under Obama, ended the ban on transgender people openly serving in the military in 2016. He granted the Pentagon a year-long review process to determine how it would begin ushering in transgender recruits.
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On June 30, the eve of that deadline, Mattis released a statement saying he needed more time to determine how the decision would "affect the ability of America's military to defend the nation."
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, condemned Trump's decision to deny "some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation." She continued, "Today further exposed President Trump's overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation. Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans, and this action couldn't make that any more clear."