First transgender recruit signs contract to join military
The Pentagon confirmed Monday that a transgender person has signed a contract to the join the U.S. military for the first time since the ban on transgender recruits was lifted due to a court order.
Maj. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the contract was signed Friday and that the individual met all standards, including medical, to serve in the military.
Eastburn declined to comment on which branch of the military the recruit is joining.
President Trump tweeted last July that he would ban transgender people from serving in the military in any capacity. He followed through with an August memo that banned transgender recruits from enlisting, blocked funds from being used for gender transition-related surgery and directed Defense Secretary James Mattis to study what to do with existing transgender troops.
Several courts have prevented the ban from being enforced while lawsuits are pending. Because of those rulings, the Pentagon was required to begin accepting transgender recruits Jan. 1, as it had planned to before Trump’s ban.
Since Jan. 1, several transgender people have applied to join the military.
The first contract was signed the same day Mattis delivered his recommendation on policy for transgender people in the military to the White House.
Pentagon spokespeople have declined to say what Mattis recommended and have said the final decision is up to Trump.
The Washington Post last Thursday, however, reported that Mattis would recommend allowing transgender troops to continue to serve in the military.
Following the August memo, Mattis convened a panel to review the issue and make recommendations on the policy. He faced a Feb. 21 deadline to give Trump his advice, but missed it because the issue is “complex,” the Pentagon said.
“This is a complex issue, and the secretary is taking his time to consider the information he has been given,” chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters last Thursday. “It’s an important issue, and, again, he sees all of his decisions through the lens of lethality. And as you said, it was a self-imposed deadline.”
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