House Armed Services chair denounces new limits on transgender service members

House Armed Services chair denounces new limits on transgender service members

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithIran talks unlikely despite window of opportunity GOP lawmakers call for provisions barring DOD funds for border wall to be dropped Warren's pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback MORE (D-Wash.) this week denounced the Pentagon's new "discriminatory" restrictions on transgender service members in the military. 

“Anyone who is qualified and willing should be allowed to serve their country openly,” Smith said in a statement. “Make no mistake, this is a discriminatory ban on transgender people, not a ban on a medical condition, and we will continue to fight against this bigoted policy.”

“It would be prudent for Acting Secretary [Patrick] Shanahan to delay implementing the Mattis policy until the courts have made their final determinations," Smith added, referring to the ongoing court battles surrounding the policy.

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Smith's comments came after the Pentagon imposed restrictions on transgender service members, limiting the scope of transgender people who are eligible to serve in the military.  

Guidelines posted online by the Defense Department on Wednesday state that all individuals who have transitioned or who need to in the view of medical providers will be banned from serving beginning April 12.

The new policy also prohibits those with a history of gender dysphoria from joining the armed services unless they have been "stable" in their biological sex for three years, agree to abide by the guidelines for that sex, and have not transitioned and do not need to in the view of medical providers.

"The new DOD policy eliminates special accommodations that were provided to persons with gender dysphoria but not to others," a memo from the Pentagon states. "Individuals who have undergone either hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery for gender dysphoria will no longer be able to join the military without a waiver."

The guidelines come one day after the Pentagon announced the signing of a directive to implement President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE's policy barring most transgender people from serving in the military.

Transgender service members who are already in the military or who are under contract to join prior to April 12 will be eligible to serve under Obama-era guidelines, according to the Pentagon's guidelines. The 2016 rule allows people who have transitioned to join the military and allowed those already serving to transition while in the armed forces. 

Updated March 14, 2:10 p.m.