The US Department of Defense (DoD) is to begin processing transgender applicants for military service from the beginning of January 2018.
The development is in compliance with recent orders by the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
US District Court for the District of Columbia judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said: “The court will not stay its preliminary injunction pending defendants’ appeal.
“In sum, having carefully considered all of the evidence before it, the court is not persuaded that defendants will be irreparably injured by allowing the accession of transgender individuals into the military beginning on 1 January 2018.”
The federal district court denied US President Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from entering the nation’s armed forces.
In July this year, Trump tweeted: “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 US military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
In August this year, Trump issued a memorandum ordering the US Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security to alter the accession policy issued by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
The 2016 Carter policy allows transgender individuals to openly serve in the US armed forces.
Under the the policy that will become effective next year, a history of gender dysphoria disqualifies applicants unless a licensed medical provider certifies that the applicant has been stable ‘without clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning for 18 months’.
Additionally, recruits who have undergone sex reassignment or genital reconstruction surgery would be disqualified unless a licensed medical provider certifies that 18 months has ‘elapsed since the date of the most recent surgery, no functional limitations or complications persist, and no additional surgeries are required’.