Here's Where We Are With the President's Transgender Military Ban

MTV Invited Six Transgender Troops to the VMAs

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is leaving an Obama-era policy on transgender military service members largely intact, saying he needs input from an expert panel to determine the best way to implement President Trump's ban that would keep transgender people from serving in the USA military. While now active trans military members can keep serving until then, Trump has directed the military not to accept any new transgender recruits.

"Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of Homeland Security", he said, "I will provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction".

Trump's memo instructs Secretary of Defense James Mattis to further explore how to handle transgender people now serving in the armed forces and orders the Pentagon to stop paying for gender reassignment surgeries, except in cases that are already in progress to "protect the health of an individual".

"The panel will assemble and thoroughly analyse all pertinent data, quantifiable and non-quantifiable", Mattis said. The White House memo also says the defense secretary is to send an implementation plan by February 21, 2018, which is what Mattis is working to do with the study.

Democrats are working on crafting an amendment to the bill that could reverse Trump's directive barring transgender individuals from serving in the military, or at least protect transgender individuals now serving, according to aides and advocates.

"We continue to work together, and the Minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations, and our interests...and look for all the areas that we can collaborate", Mattis said.

What do you think of transgender service people in the military?

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What do previous studies say about transgender service members? The effective dates for all three changes are in 2018.

In a statement last week, McCain said it would be "a step in the wrong direction" to force transgender individuals out of the military exclusively on the basis of gender identity.

The Rand study estimated extending gender transition-related health care coverage to active duty transgender service members would increase health care costs "by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, representing a 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase in active-component health care expenditures".

Another lawsuit was also filed Monday in Seattle by Lambda Legal, OutServe-SLDN and Gender Justice League.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, introduced an amendment to the defense policy bill last month to block Trump's ban and added a Republican co-sponsor in Sen.

The NGO, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has also filed separate lawsuit in the United Stated District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of transgender service personnel, including Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone and others.

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