U.S. Military: Transgender People Can Serve for Now

"No modifications to the current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense," said Gen. Dunford

President Trump sends trio of tweets barring transgender individual from serving in military, citing "tremendous medical costs and disruption." Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Update: Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured his constituents that for now, transgender individuals are able to serve in the military. Dunford's statement comes one day after President Trump announced via Twitter that transgender individuals will not be allowed to serve "in any capacity."

"I know there are questions about yesterday's announcement on the transgender policy by the President," Dunford wrote in a letter, first reported by Reuters. "There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance."

Dunford stated that the military would continue to "treat all of our personnel with respect."

This week, Trump said in a series of tweets that he would reverse the 2016 decision permitting transgender individuals to serve in the military. "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."

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) denounced Trump's decision by tweeting at him: 

"@realDonaldTrump today issued a direct attack on transgender Americans," the official GLAAD account tweeted. "His admin. will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology — even if it means denying some of our bravest the right to serve. There are already 15,000 patriotic, transgender Americans serving in our military, and this ban will cause a huge disruption. Furthermore, this puts the careers of patriotic transgender Americans on the line who want nothing more than to serve their country."

On the campaign trail, Trump argued that he was better for LGBTQ Americans than his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.



Trump's bold announcement comes amid a heated debate on Capitol Hill over previously instated policies requiring the Pentagon to pay for medical treatment related to gender transition.

One of the most publicized cases was Chelsea Manning's sentencing and subsequent coming out as transgender in 2013. At the time, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued that denying Manning access to hormone therapy could be seen as a violation of her Eighth Amendment rights protecting her from cruel and unusual punishment. She was granted hormone therapy in February 2015.