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US DoD’s controversial transgender policy comes into effect

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The US Department of Defense’s (DoD) new transgender policy, which places limits on the military service of transgender individuals, has officially come into effect.

The latest decision on transgender policy comes nearly two years after US President Donald Trump tweeted that he wanted to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military.

Trump said in July 2017 that he would ban transgender people from the US military, a move which created uncertainty about the fate of several transgender service members. The announcement drew opposition from rights groups and some lawmakers as politically motivated discrimination.

However, conservative activists and some Republicans welcomed the move.

Under the new US Department of Defense’s (DoD) transgender policy, service members and those wishing to join the military are required to stick to the standards associated with their biological sex.

For those wishing to join the military, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness Anthony Kurta said that “a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is presumptively disqualifying under the new policy, just as it is under the 2016 policy, absent a waiver

“If the service member can continue to meet all standards associated with their biological sex, then the service member can continue to serve without waiver.”

“If the service member can continue to meet all standards, including deployablity standards, and all those associated with their biological sex, then the service member can continue to serve without waiver.”

Kurta further added that applicants are required to demonstrate stability in their biological sex for 36 months.

While the DoD does not track the transgender status of its personnel, a survey conducted in 2016 found that around 9,000 service members self-identified as transgender. Furthermore, around 1,400 service members had been diagnosed with some form of gender dysphoria, while less than ten members were receiving gender reassignment surgery.

This January, the US Supreme Court lifted three of four injunctions that blocked the DoD from implementing changes to the military transgender policy.

However, the court noted that a stay on the rules will be in place until a decision from a Maryland circuit court.



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