02 July, 2017
Today, HRC responded to Secretary of Defense James Mattis' decision to delay by six months the implementation of the final piece of a policy that allows qualified transgender people to serve in the armed forces.
The five armed service branches can now delay accepting transgender recruits until January 1 as they "review their accession plans and provide input on the impact to the readiness and lethality of our forces", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.
They had been set a deadline of 1 July to bring in the policy announced back in 2016 meaning trans people could serve openly in the military.
"Although relatively few in number, we're talking about talented and trained Americans", he added, stressing the military wanted "to retain people whose talent we've invested in and proven themselves".
Defense Secretary James Mattis has agreed to a request from military service chiefs for a six-month delay in allowing openly transgender people to enlist into the US armed forces, according to the Associated Press.
The policy also required transgender recruits to complete all medical treatment associated with their gender transition, be stable in their new gender for 18 months. Those guidelines were crafted with assistance from advocates for transgender people, such as the Palm Center, a think tank promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender concerns.
He said the delay "in no way presupposes an outcome".
"The Secretary of Defense directed the military departments to assess their readiness to access transgender applicants into the military", said Army Lt. Col. Myles Caggins, a Pentagon spokesman earlier this year. In addition, the military was discharging highly trained and talented transgender service members on the basis of regulations that were almost forty years out of date.
RAND Corp. helped the DoD with the study and estimated there are 2,500 transgender service members now on active duty and 1,500 in the reserves. Most transgender service members were going outside the military medical system and paid out of pocket, he said. While transgender service members serve openly today thanks to a change implemented a year ago under the previous administration, a final piece of the policy that will allow qualified transgender people to enter the military has yet to go into effect.
"Confusion about gender identity requires family compassion and competent psychological treatment, not special civil rights status and extraordinary accommodations that are not offered when other physical or mental conditions affecting personal readiness are involved", the report said.