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Transgender People Now Allowed to Enlist in U.S. Military

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on January 09, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Over the past six months, the U.S government has been split on transgender military service, with the president tweeting a ban, transgender service members suing over the tweets, the Secretary of Defense defying the president's order, and ultimately a federal court blocking the order.

All that political and legal back-and-forth looks to be over -- starting January 1 of this year, transgender people are now allowed to enlist in the military. And, according to the Department of Justice, the Trump administration won't continue to challenge transgender military service in court.

Support for Service

In October 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled "[t]here is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effective on the military at all."

"As far as the Court is aware at this preliminary stage," Kollar-Kotelly wrote at the time, "all of the reasons proffered by the President for excluding transgender individuals from the military in this case were not merely unsupported, but were actually contradicted by the studies, conclusions and judgment of the military itself." The court ordered the military to begin accepting transgender recruits starting January first of 2018, and then denied a Trump administration's request to delay the order.

Accession Standards

"As mandated by court order, the Department of Defense is prepared to begin accessing transgender applicants for military service January 1," Pentagon spokeswoman Heather Babb said in a statement. "All applicants must meet all accession standards." In December, the Pentagon issued guidelines to recruitment personnel in order to enlist transgender applicants, including medical requirements, how an applicants' sex would be identified, and even which undergarments they would potentially wear.

If you have questions about military enlistment or transgender rights during military service, contact an experienced military attorney today.

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