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White House Preparing Rules for Military’s Transgender Ban

A rainbow flag flies as people protest U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military, in Times Square, in New York City, New York, July 26, 2017.

The White House is expected to soon give the Pentagon guidance on implementing President Donald Trump’s order to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

A memo reported by the Wall Street Journal, and later confirmed by officials who spoke to the New York Times and Reuters, would give Defense Secretary Jim Mattis six months to implement the plan set in motion by a series of Trump tweets in late July.

Expel military members, deny recruits

The policy would give the Pentagon the ability to expel military members based on a standard of whether they could be deployed to war zones or take part in other missions. It would also deny admittance to new transgender people who want to join the military, and would end spending for medical treatment regimens for current transgender service members.

Trump in his tweets based his decision on what he said were the “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The decision was welcomed by some in his conservative base, but also faced a large backlash from lawmakers and rights advocates.

The move also came a year after the Pentagon under former President Barack Obama announced transgender military members would be allowed to serve openly.

Decision criticized

After the reports emerged about the implementation of Trump’s plan, the Human Rights Campaign responded via Twitter by saying the president “knows nothing about what it means to be transgender or serve in the military.”

“Trans service members already do deploy, proving repeatedly what matters is their ability to accomplish the mission, not gender identity,” HRC said.

According to research by the RAND Corporation, the U.S. military has about 4,000 transgender people currently serving in the U.S. military.