It was just last month when Defense Secretary James Mattis announced that he was delaying enactment of the plan to begin allowing transgender individuals to join the US military. “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump said.
A study in 2016 put the number of transgender people in the military between 1,320 and 6,630. Some estimates place the number as high as 11,000 in the reserves and active duty military. Under Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, the military lifted the ban on transgender troops and was given one year to determine how to implement a policy that would allow transgender service members to receive medical care. As a presidential candidate, President Trump said that he “will do everything” to protect LGBT communities. Richard Socarides, a longtime gay rights advocate who advised Bill Clinton on gay men and lesbians serving in uniform, called Trump’s decision “a tragic betrayal of all LGBT Americans and a shameful effort to win over social conservatives at the expense of the vulnerable.” Gay rights and transgender organizations have long threatened legal action against the Pentagon if it decided to roll back or hinder the service of transgender troops.