Summary of Trump Administration Policy on Transgender Military ServiceBy Peter Sprigg Senior Fellow for Policy Studies
Brief Timeline of Military Transgender Policy
- Before 2016 – Persons who identify as transgender are generally prohibited from serving in the military.[i]
- July 1, 2016 – In final year of Obama administration, new policy announced by Defense Secretary Ash Carter takes effect, ending discharges of transgender Service members; will allow those who identify as transgender to join the military beginning July 1, 2017.[ii]
- June 30, 2017 – President Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis postpones July 1 deadline for accession of transgender-identified Service members by six months.[iii]
- July 26, 2017 – President Trump announces reversal of the Obama/Carter policy on Twitter, declaring that “the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”[iv]
- August 25, 2017 – President Trump issues memorandum instructing Secretary Mattis to draft policies to implement his decision.[v]
- August-December, 2017 – Four lawsuits are filed challenging Trump policy; judges in all four cases issue preliminary injunctions against implementation of Trump policy.[vi]
- January 1, 2018 – Pursuant to the court injunctions, the Armed Forces begin to accept applicants who identify as transgender.
- March 23, 2018 – The White House and Department of Defense release documents laying out a new policy regarding military service by those who identify as transgender.[vii]
[ii] “Military Service of Transgender Service Members,” Department of Defense, June 30, 2016, https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2016/0616_policy/DTM-16-005.pdf.
[iii] “More time allowed for review of new transgender enlistments,” Fox News, July 1, 2017, accessed April 5, 2018, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/07/01/more-time-allowed-for-review-new-transgender-enlistments.html.
[iv] Jacob Pramuk, “Trump says his administration will block transgender people from serving in the military,” CNBC.com, July 26, 2017, accessed April 5, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/26/trump-will-block-transgender-people-from-serving-in-the-military.html.
[v] “Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security,” The White House, August 25, 2017, accessed April 5, 2018, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-memorandum-secretary-defense-secretary-homeland-security/.
[vi] Maria Perez, “Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Is Being Legally Challenged,” Newsweek, January 27, 2018, accessed April 5, 2018, http://www.newsweek.com/transgender-military-ban-transgender-rights-president-donald-trump-us-793075.
[vii] “March 23 Policy Implementation,” https://drive.google.com/file/d/1orvILU5VJ2EkrHSDCBVBmv8t_V6sbne9/view.