Activists and lawmakers react to Trump's transgender military ban

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President Donald Trump released an order Friday night banning most transgender troops from serving in the military except under "limited circumstances", following up on his calls a year ago to ban transgender individuals from serving.

The memo defined the transgender ban as applying to individuals or "those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery".

The memorandum was issued on policies determined by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, stating that transgender persons were "disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances", reports The Hill magazine.

According to Defense Department memorandum, the new policy will allow some transgender members to serve while barring any who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria or undergone a gender transition, and are willing to serve in their biological sex.

Citing research into other countries that allow transgender people to serve, the study projected "little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness or readiness" in the United States.

According to poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, Americans strongly support allowing transgender people to serve in the USA military.

The American Civil Liberties Union rights group condemned the new policy, calling it "transphobia masquerading as policy".

It is possible that the ban will never actually be put in place: while the Trump administration is framing the order as "a new policy developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders", it is substantively the same as the previous Trump policy, which is now facing multiple lawsuits on constitutional grounds. Dave Eastborn, a Pentagon spokesman. "We will never stop fighting this discriminatory policy until every current and future transgender service member is treated equally and respected fully for their bravery".

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"This is the same reckless ban that has been rejected by the federal courts, the American Medical Association, many bipartisan members of Congress, and most of the American people", said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. At the high end, that would mean Trump skipping three straight weekends at Mar-a-Lago to cover the cost for transgender military members to serve.

On Friday, the Pentagon reaffirmed that it would continue to comply with federal law.

The decision comes after a number of top military officials over the past year- including most members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - have gone out of their way to defend the thousands of transgender troops who are believed to be serving in the military.

His push for the ban has been blocked by several legal challenges, and the Pentagon began allowing transgender recruits to seek enlistment in January.

"No matter what @realDonaldTrump says, this is a transgender ban - plain and simple", Schumer tweeted.

Sanders said the new policy was announced after extensive study by senior leaders under the direction of defense secretary James Mattis. This hateful ban is purpose-built to humiliate our fearless transgender members of the military who serve with honor & dignity.

Trump's grandstanding memo is just that - a memo.

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