'US transgender military ban to begin in 6 months'
Washington: The White House is set to issue a guidance on President Donald Trump's ban on transgenders in the military that gives the Pentagon six months to oust "non-deployable" transgender service members, bars new transgender hires and orders the Pentagon to stop paying for trans service members' medical treatments.
A two-and-half-page White House memo, which is expected to be sent to the Pentagon in the coming days, is the first attempt by the government to provide guidance on how to follow through on the ban Trump announced in a series of tweets on July 26, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
He announced then that transgender individuals would not be eligible to "serve in any capacity in the US Military".
The directive was confirmed on Wednesday by a government official familiar with its contents but who was not authorised to discuss its details, the Times reported.
The memo, once it gets approved, will give Defense Secretary James Mattis six months to enforce the ban and force out transgender service members by setting a legal standard of whether they would be able to deploy to war zones or for other lengthy military missions.
The American Military Partner Association - a group for families of LGBT service members and veterans - slammed the report of the guidance.
"(Trump's) foolhardy assertion that transgender service members are not able to deploy is simply not rooted in fact," the group's president, Ashley Broadway-Mack, said.
"Transgender service members are just as deployable as any other service member. These brave men and women are already risking their lives for this country around the world. They have earned their right to appropriate medical care, and President Trump's attempt to rip that away is beyond unconscionable."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi responded to The Wall Street Journal's report with a tweet on Wednesday night: "This is not how you keep America safe. Period. #ProtectTransTroops."
The ban reverses a year-old policy crafted by the Barack Obama administration that allowed transgender people to serve openly in the military.