After a back-and-forth between President Trump, the Pentagon, and federal courts, transgender troops will be able to join the military beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
The White House and Pentagon announced Monday that the military will put policies in place permitting the services to accept new recruits.
This all started in June of 2016 when the Obama administration lifted a ban on transgender troops. Four months later, changes were made to the Pentagon's system to allow for those troops.
In June of this year, there was a request to delay the implementation of transgender troops. In July, President Trump tweeted his ban on transgender people serving in the military in any capacity.
Those actions have triggered court challenges by advocates for transgender troops, and courts have generally sided with them. The Associated Press reports three federal courts have already ruled against that ban.
Potential transgender recruits will have to overcome a lengthy and strict set of physical, medical and mental conditions that make it possible, though difficult, for them to join the armed services. The requirement for transgender troops to enlist is that they've been clinically stable in their preferred sex for 18 months.
Retired master sergeant Nancy Jones served in the Air Force for more than 20 years. She retired in 1991 and now lives in the Tampa Bay area. While on duty, she was married and known as Daniel Jones. Jones received the Department of Defense meritorious service medal for honorable service but says she couldn’t live in freedom until she retired.
“I’ve always been transgender my whole life. When you’re forced to live with a secret. When you’re on duty in the back of your mind, you know there’s something you have to protect.”
We took the issue to our viewers on Facebook, first when President Trump announced the ban this summer; a move many of you seemed to agree with.
Matt Shoemaker said in part, “If they can’t tell who they are they cannot distinguish the enemy.”
Linda Elaine said, “If you have a mental illness, guess what, you don’t get to join. Do you know what gender dysphoria is? It’s a mental illness”
According to the American Psychiatric Association, transgender people do not have a mental disorder and suffer no impairment in their judgment or ability to work.
“The treatment is to transition. Right now, I don’t feel like I have gender dysphoria because I’ve transitioned and everything matches up. It’s beforehand that a lot of it comes from how society treats you. That’s where the depression and everything come from,” Jones said.
Viewer responses on our Facebook Page to Pentagon reversing the ban show more of support.
Terri Caldwell said, “They shouldn’t be banned if their mental states become an issue, discharge them like any other medical discharge.
Someone else posted a picture saying, “Is this a man or a woman? Does it matter? Did they serve this country? Protect Transgender rights. They protected yours.”
Jones agrees, saying serving openly allows people to live in freedom and better do their jobs.
“They have the right to serve. Anyone who can complete the training fulfill the requirements should be able to serve,” she said.
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