Local transgender advocates condemn White House attempt to ban troops

President Donald Trump resumed a push late Friday to restrict transgender troops serving in the military, but recent court actions will block their implementation for now, authorities say.

The White House said retaining troops with a history or diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” – those who may require substantial medical treatment – “presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”

Trump vowed to impose restrictions on transgender troops since first tweeting about it in 2017 when he declared he would reverse an Obama administration plan to let transgender troops serve openly. Several legal challenges have blocked Trump’s attempt at a ban, and four federal courts have ruled against it.

The Pentagon responded by allowing those serving serving in the military to stay in ranks, and let transgender recruits to enlist beginning this year.

RELATED: Trump to reinstate military ban on transgender people

“This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards – including those regarding the use of medical drugs – equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen,” White House spokeswoman Sara Huckabee Sanders said Friday.

Stacy D. Sandberg, chairperson of the Dayton PFLAG transgender committee, said the White House and the Pentagon “dishonor” transgender troops and veterans under the latest policy, outlined in a Feb. 22 directive from Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

RELATED: Transgender advocates cheer Pentagon decision

“Bottom line, it may say they provide means for transgender people to be in military service, but in reading what the recommend policies were, I don’t see that as possible,” said Sandberg, who identifies as transgender. “The restrictions are so severe that if a transgender person wants to serve in the military, they can’t be transgender.

“I don’t see anything different here in that it is an attempt to disqualify transgender people from simply being transgender,” Sandberg added. “If a person can meet the requirements of a job, they shouldn’t be disqualified based on a prejudice.”

The Pentagon restrictions would, among other things, allow exemptions if a transgender person has been stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to joining the military; service members who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria after joining the military may stay in if they do not require a gender change and can be deployed on assignment; and transgender service members already serving may stay in their preferred gender and receive medical treatment for gender dysphoria, the directive says.

R ELATED: House rejects transgender ban measure for troops

It clearly also states:

“Transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition are disqualified from military service,” or they may serve in their biological gender,

Transgender advocacy groups have vowed to fight the latest ban attempt in court.

Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, released a statement Monday indicating the Defense Department will abide by recent court rulings “and continue to assess and retain transgender service members.”

Randy S. Phillips, Greater Dayton LGBT Center president, said he was “saddened” at the latest White House attempt to block transgender troops serving in uniform. The policy, he said, “makes absolutely no sense.”

“There is no rationale behind it in any way that makes sense for this to go forward,” he said, adding many senior military leaders oppose the policy.

“Quite frankly, it’s just another stab to oppress the LGBT community particularly the transgender community,” Phillips added. “We have fought long and hard for our country and they continue to fight hard every single day.”

A message was sent Monday to a spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

About the Author