Summary of Trump Administration Policy on Transgender Military Service

Brief Timeline of Military Transgender Policy

  • Before 2016 – Persons who identify as transgender are generally prohibited from serving in the military.
  • 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.
  • June 30, 2017 – President Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis postpones July 1 deadline for accession of transgender-identified Service members by six months.
  • 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.”
  • August 25, 2017 – President Trump issues memorandum instructing Secretary Mattis to draft policies to implement his decision.
  • August-December, 2017 – Four lawsuits are filed challenging Trump policy; judges in all four cases issue preliminary injunctions against implementation of Trump policy.
  • 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.

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