The Military Times is reporting that the Pentagon is preparing to comply with a federal court ruling saying the military must accept new transgender recruits by Jan. 1.
The court ruling has been fought by President Trump, who has argued that transgender persons should not be allowed to serve at all.
“January 1 means January 1,” Jennifer Levi, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders Transgender Rights project director, told Military Times reporter Tara Copp. “That’s the date when the military can no longer deny transgender people from enlisting. The court’s earlier order was clear on that point. This latest ruling is an exclamation point, not that any was needed.”
In June 2016, former Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that transgender personnel who had previously served in secret would now be allowed to serve openly. That new policy also said that the Pentagon would work over the next 12 months to identify the best way to allow openly transgender personnel to join the military.
Under the Trump administration, an additional six-month delay was added to the new policy, preventing any new recruits from joining until Jan 1, 2018.
In August President Trump formally ordered the Department of Defense to reverse a 2016 order allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military.
Military Times reports that “in the months since, DoD has scrambled to come up with a solution acceptable to the White House and address the concerns of its own forces. In response to the president’s directive, the Pentagon set up another panel to provide recommendations on whether, or how, currently serving openly transgender personnel would be allowed to remain in the military.”
“While reviewing legal options with the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense is taking steps to be prepared to initiate accessions of transgender applicants for military service on January 1, 2018, per recent court orders,” said Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Dave Eastburn. “Due to ongoing litigation, we are unable to provide additional information at this time.”