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More than 100 lawmakers urge Mattis to reverse transgender military ban

More than 100 lawmakers urge Mattis to reverse transgender military ban
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More than 100 members of Congress are urging Defense Secretary James Mattis to reverse a policy barring most transgender individuals from serving in the military, USA Today reported.

In a Tuesday letter led by Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedySupreme Court confounding its partisan critics Warren says she'll run for reelection to Senate Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE III (D-Mass.), lawmakers push back on a Pentagon study released in March that recommended anyone diagnosed with gender dysphoria should be banned from the military except under certain circumstances, according to the newspaper.

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Kennedy said the Defense Department “used outdated studies and cherry-picked data” to reach its findings.

“There is a deep chasm between established medical research and the underlying analysis your Department used to justify this policy, and we call on you to reverse your recommendations,” Kennedy writes, according to USA Today.

The letter also asks Mattis to identify the members of a panel chosen last year to develop guidelines for allowing or not allowing transgender people into the armed forces. Pentagon officials have repeatedly refused to say who was on the panel.

Trump in July 2017 first tweeted his intention to ban transgender troops from serving, sparking the creation of the panel.

Then in March — in conjunction with the release of a report on Mattis’s recommendations on how to handle transgender troops — Trump signed a memo banning most transgender people from serving in the military “except under certain limited circumstances.”

The memo gave Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who oversees the Coast Guard, “authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals.”

The ban seeks to reverse a 2016 policy signed under former President Obama that allowed transgender troops to enlist, serve and seek medical treatment.

But courts have issued preliminary injunctions in four separate lawsuits that require the Pentagon to continue allowing open service while the cases work their way through the court system. No new policy can go into effect until then.

The lawmakers point to statements from the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association, which have all opposed the ban.

“The Trump Administration’s decision to ban transgender troops abandons our proudest values, undermines our armed forces, defies established medical research and ignores basic science,” Kennedy said in a statement to USA Today.

“If President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE and his administration are committed to all of our service members, they will immediately reverse this bigoted ban.”