Military inducts first transgender recruit

News of the enlistment comes as the Trump administration is weighing whether transgender troops should be allowed into the military.

While President Trump lobbies for a ban on transgender individuals being allowed into the military, the Pentagon now reports that it has inducted its first openly transgender recruit.

News isn’t currently forthcoming as whether the individual is contracted as a serviceman or servicewoman or which branch of the military this anonymous individual has signed up for. The US military is presently reviewing policy relative to allowing transgender persons into the service. The Washington Times reports:

The first transgender recruit has officially signed up for the U.S. military, despite President Donald Trump’s call for the ban of all such individuals from serving in the armed forces.

The Pentagon confirmed Monday the recruit signed their service contract on Friday, after meeting a slew of physical, psychological and medical requirements before being considered for military service, Pentagon spokesman Maj. David Eastburn told The Washington Times. The Defense Department declined to comment on which branch the individual joined or whether the recruit, who wished to remain anonymous, signed up as a serviceman or servicewoman.

News of the enlistment comes as the Trump administration is weighing the recommendations of Defense Secretary James Mattis on whether transgender troops should be allowed into the military. Department spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters on Monday that Mr. Mattis’s guidance had been sent to the White House and is currently under review.

He declined to comment on the details of the Pentagon’s recommendations, or conversations between Mr. Mattis and the Trump administration on the issue, noting that such conversations with the president “are confidential.” The White House is expected to release its official policy on transgender troops on March 23, a deadline issued by Mr. Trump in the initial administration memorandum calling for the transgender ban.

Mr. Mattis’ recommendations were based on the findings of a department-led review late last year, Col. Manning said. That review found that stated transgendered troops could remain in the U.S. military, under certain conditions.

The Pentagon chief was expected to deliver his recommendations on the future of transgender individuals in the U.S. military last week, but Mr. Mattis and his staff required more time to fully delve into the complexities of allowing transgender troops to serve, Pentagon Press Secretary Dana White said Thursday.

“This is a complex issue. And the secretary is taking his time to consider the information he’s been given. It’s an important issue, and again, he sees all of his decisions through the lens of lethality,” she told reporters, noting the Feb. 21 due date for the policy was a “self-imposed deadline” by Mr. Mattis.

Despite missing the deadline, the department remains “confident that the president will give [Mr. Mattis] the time necessary to provide him with a thoughtful recommendation,” said Ms. White.

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter formally lifted the ban on transgendered citizens serving openly in the U.S. military last year. Under that policy initiated by Mr. Carter, transgendered individuals would have been able to enlist into the services by July.

Those plans came to a halt in January, when Mr. Trump announced plans to ban all transgender citizens from enlisting into the military and to force out any transgender troops currently in uniform. The announcement came as Mr. Mattis was in the midst of a six-month review of the Obama-era policy.

Since the August announcement, two federal courts have ruled the White House’s ban as unconstitutional while the transgender ban policy continues to face other challenges in the judiciary.

Transgendered recruits were allowed to enlist beginning Jan. 1 after being subjected to a slew of physical, psychological and medical requirements before being considered for military service, pending the release of the military’s recommendations to the White House.

The new standards for transgendered enlistment include certification that a recruit has been deemed “clinically stable” in their preferred sex for 18 months, and do not suffer from marked stress or impairment tied to their selected gender during certain scenarios tied to military service.

Reports have thus far mentioned this case of transgender “recruits”, notice the plurality, while the discussion seems to center around this solitary case. Regardless of how many transgendered individuals are in the military’s recruitment queue, this step for the military could potentially introduce a number of various issues within the military’s ranks, including the risks of sexual assault, not to mention facility and equipment issue and use, among many others.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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