The Trump administration will begin implementing its restrictive new policy barring most trans people from military service, but its opponents aren’t calling it quits just yet.
The policy, first announced by President Donald Trump in a series of tweets nearly two years ago, goes into effect on Friday, ABC News reports. Although not an outright ban, critics say that it constitutes an effective ban on trans people’s service that is tantamount to discrimination.
Under the Pentagon’s new rules, trans people who have medically transitioned with hormones or surgery will not be allowed to enlist in the military. Trans people who have not medically transitioned are allowed to enlist as long as they serve as their assigned sex at birth and do not seek transition care while serving.
Trans service members who have already transitioned are permitted to continue serving as themselves, and those who are currently receiving trans-affirming medical care are permitted to continue serving. The Navy will also allow trans sailors to present themselves however they want when off duty, NBC News reports.
While the Pentagon maintains that the policy is neither discriminatory nor a ban, many lawmakers in Congress disagree. In March, the House of Representatives passed a resolution denouncing President Trump’s “discriminatory ban on transgender members of the Armed Forces.” A bipartisan group of senators also introduced legislation that would allow trans people to serve.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who is currently seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, was among those senators who introduced the bill, and she’s far from the only 2020 hopeful to denounce the trans military ban. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg have all condemned the policy. Sen. Cory Booker has even promised to reverse it, if elected.
"If I am president of the United States, I will reverse decisions Donald Trump has made starting with allowing transgender patriots to serve in the military,” Booker said at a town hall in March.