The Pentagon announced its decision to allow transgender individuals to enlist in the United States military, defying President Donald Trump’s order.
Trump signed an executive order banning all transgender people from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military. He also prohibited the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment regiments for transgender individuals who are currently serving the country.
According to Major David Eastburn, spokesman for the Pentagon, the enlistment of transgender recruits will begin on January 1. The Pentagon will implement a new set of guidelines for particularly on medical and mental health.
Eastburn told the Associated Press that the new guidelines mean the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition and those who underwent reconstruction.
He also clarified that the Pentagon will accept such recruits if they can prove that they are clinically stable in their preferred gender for 18 months and free from significant social or occupational distress or impairment. A medical provider must certify their clinical stability.
Transgender recruits receiving hormone must also prove that they have sufficient medication for 18 months.
Eastburn explained, “Due to the complexity of this new medical standard, trained medical officers will perform a medical prescreen of transgender applicants for military service who otherwise meet all applicable applicant standards,” Eastburn said.
Transgender service members filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive order. In October, a federal judge ruled against the Trump administration. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the White House failed to provide solid evidence to support its policy to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
Political experts suggest that the Pentagon’s decision showed that there is growing perception that the Trump administration will lose its legal battle on the issue.