On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that Donald Trump’s promised ban on transgender service members will be going into effect on April 12. The policy had previously been blocked by now-vacated court injunctions.
The language of the new policy has been watered down from the full ban originally demanded by Trump. Transgender troops are allowed to serve, and “[n]o person, solely on the basis of his or her gender identity,” will be denied promotion or re-enlistment, or be involuntarily discharged.
But the policy requires transgender troops to serve as their sex that was assigned at birth, subject to military requirements for service members of that sex, including physical fitness and assigned “berthing, bathroom and shower facilities,” regardless of gender dysphoria or other diagnosis; service members who cannot meet those requirements will be discharged. It bars all new recruits who are taking hormones or who have transitioned.
The move is expected to impact an estimated 14,700 service members. In testimony to Congress, military leaders denied that transgender service members were causing the morale or readiness problems the Trump White House had claimed; there appears to be no credible justification for the policy change other than as a sop to Trump’s “social conservative” base.
There is no word on whether we are supposed to still be pretending that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are privately displeased with these actions.