President Donald Trump has said transgender people will not be allowed to serve ‘in any capacity’ in the US military.
He based the decision on ‘tremendous medical costs and disruption’.
He said in a tweet: ‘After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.
‘Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.’
Around this time last year, the Pentagon agreed it would allow transgender people to serve across the US military.
There are an estimated 250 transgender troops currently serving.
Since October last year, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.
But former defense secretary Ash Carter also gave the services until July 1 to develop policies to allow people already identifying as transgender to newly join the military, if they meet physical, medical and other standards, and have been stable in their identified genders for 18 months.
A report by the non-partisan RAND Corp last year found that treating transgender troops would cost as much as $8million annually, according to USA Today.
Trump’s defense secretary, James Mattis, delayed implementing a plan to accept transgender troops by six months while the report was carried out.
At the time, he said: ‘Since becoming the Secretary of Defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: will the decision affect the readiness and lethality of the force?
‘Put another way, how will the decision affect the ability of America’s military to defend the nation? It is against this standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender individuals into the military Services.’
It is not clear when the ban will come into force.
The decision is a huge U-turn on what the Obama administration had put in place.