Donald Trump has finally managed to get transgender soldiers banned from the military
Last week, almost two years after Donald Trump tweeted that he wanted to exclude transgender individuals from serving in the US military, the president's transphobic ban was put into practice.
From now on, new military recruits will be prevented from transitioning, the military has the right to discharge those currently serving if they do not present as their assigned birth gender.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Carla M. Gleason said: "We are pleased that we are able to create and implement our own accessions policy."
She added that she is "not aware of any anecdotes up to this point" of new applicants or current service members being penalised under the new regulations - but they have only just taken into effect.
After April 12 of this year, anyone who experiences gender dysphoria (a sense of unease or dissatisfaction with one's gender), or who is currently taking hormones, or who has transitioned to another gender will be banned from enlisting in the military.
Only those who present and live as their assigned birth gender will be permitted to join.
According to the Associated Press, the memo outlining the new policy states that a current service member may be discharged if they are "unable or unwilling to adhere to all applicable standards, including the standards associated with his or her biological sex, or seeks transition to another gender."
It also states that troops must be given counselling and the opportunity to change their minds about transitioning before any formal action can be taken.
In a statement given last Tuesday, Nancy Pelosi described the ban as "cowardly".
"The President’s revival of his bigoted, disgusting ban on transgender servicemembers is a stunning attack on the patriots who keep us safe and on the most fundamental ideals of our nation," said the House Speaker. "The President’s years-long insistence on his cowardly ban makes clear that prejudice, not patriotism, guides his decisions."
The ban must be implemented within 30 days of April 12, which means that some individuals may be able to come out as transgender before the ban is in place in order to secure their jobs.
As previously stated, though, there is no guarantee that they will not be discharged on a later date because of their transgender status.
For many, the ban is reminiscent of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that existed for lesbian, gay and bisexual service members up until recently - and there are concerns that this attitude could make a return under Trump's administration.
At present, an estimated 14,700 troops identify as transgender, but not all of them have sought or are seeking medical intervention. According to the Pentagon, the Department of Defence has spent around $8 million on transgender care in the past three years - less than it spends on Viagra.
The military’s annual health care budget is over $50 billion.