Military reports no discharges under trans ban, advocates have doubts

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Donald Trump’s tweets, image via The Washington Blade.

More than two years after President Trump tweeted he’d ban transgender people from the U.S. military “in any capacity,” the military services say the policy hasn’t resulted in denials of service for otherwise qualified individuals—a claim transgender advocates say is dubious at best.

The Washington Blade reached out to each of the military services—the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard—to obtain numbers of discharges and denials of enlistment of transgender people since the Defense Department implemented the policy, DTM-19-004, on April 12.

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Trump defense pick rebuked for ‘misleading’ testimony on trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Trump’s defense nominee Mark Esper is being criticized for “misleading” comments on the trans military ban. (Image public domain)

President Trump’s choice to become the next secretary of defense Mark Esper was rebuked July 16 during his confirmation hearing for “misleading” testimony in which he asserted transgender people who “can meet the standards with special accommodations” can serve in the military.

Esper made the comments, which largely defer to the Trump administration’s anti-trans report on transgender people in the military, in response to written responses to advance policy questions made public the day he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Air Force Academy removes commandant of cadets amid inquiry

By : wire report
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Above: Brig.(Gen. Kristin Goodwin makes remarks during the Graduation Tapping Ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, May 21, 2018. (Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez/Air Force)

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) | The U.S. Air Force Academy has removed its commandant of cadets amid an investigation, but officials didn’t release any details.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported on April 29 that Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin was relieved from her duties as head of military training at the school.

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Trump’s transgender military ban now in effect

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The Pentagon initiated April 12 the transgender military ban in accordance with Trump administration plans for the policy, returning the U.S. military to restrictions on LGBT service that harken to the days of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Transgender service members — who had been able to serve openly and obtain transition-related health care since the final year of the Obama administration in 2016 — will now face significant impediments on their service and an outright ban for many of them seeking to enlist.

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Trump issues (moot) memo affirming ban on transgender military service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Consistent with expectations for timing for the new policy, ban on transgender military service issued a memo late Friday on transgender military service that — while moot thanks to court orders against banning transgender troops — nonetheless reaffirms policy against their service.

In the memo dated March 23, Trump defers on the transgender military issue to Defense Secretary James Mattis and based on his recommendation asserts transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to serve “except under certain limited circumstances.”

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TV ad aims to pressure Trump on transgender military service

By : wire report
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Activist groups are turning to television ads, including on President Donald Trump’s go-to network, Fox News, to pressure the White House into allowing transgender people to keep serving in the military.

Trump has pledged to ban transgender troops from serving. He’ll be able to see the 30-second commercial as of Friday, when it starts airing on Fox, CNN and MSNBC morning shows. It uses a series of quotes from Trump, a former senior military leader and several Congress members who were in the armed forces to argue that all qualified Americans should be able to serve.

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No recommendation from Mattis yet on trans military service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Defense Secretary James Mattis is poised to make recommendations to the White House this week on transgender military service, although that hasn’t happened as of Wednesday afternoon despite a deadline of that day, a defense official said.

Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the Mattis recommendation is forthcoming, but not yet submitted.

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Army secretary: Soldiers unconcerned about transgender military service

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The civilian head of the U.S. Army said Thursday soldiers are unconcerned about serving alongside transgender people despite President Trump stoking fear about cohesion in his attempt to ban them from the armed forces, according to ABC News.

Army Secretary Mark Esper said transgender military service “really hasn’t come up” as he’s traveled to U.S. bases at home and abroad when reporters asked if soldiers expressed concerns about transgender service.

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Lawmakers seek proof Pentagon advised Trump on trans military ban

By : Karen Ocamb of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Virginia Rep. A. Donald McEachin is spearheading a call for all correspondence and documentation from the Pentagon to show the process that informed President Trump’s directive to institute a ban on all transgender military service.

In a letter to Defense Sec. Jim Mattis dated Oct. 10 and signed by 114 members of Congress, including many from California, McEachin writes: “We request information about what discussions or correspondence between the White House and the Pentagon, if any, led President Trump to make his assertion. If senior military or Department of Defense personnel asked that the president ban transgender individuals from military service, we request access to any letters, e-mails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes or other materials that document such requests.”

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Mattis: Trans troops can re-enlist in armed forces — for now

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Faced with President Trump’s task of implementing a ban on their service, Defense Secretary James Mattis has issued a memo allowing transgender troops currently in the military to re-enlist — at least during the six-month period when Pentagon studies the issue.

The interim guidance, obtained Friday by the Washington Blade and other media outlets, lays out the implementation plan for Trump’s directive last month to ban transgender military service.

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Mattis assembling panel to discuss transgender troops

By : Wire Report
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WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is assembling a panel of experts to discuss the matter of openly transgender individuals already serving in the U.S. military.

President Donald Trump on Friday directed the Pentagon to extend indefinitely a ban on transgender individuals joining the military, but he gave Mattis the authority to decide those already serving.

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It’s official: Trump directs Pentagon to enact trans military ban

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Nearly one month after announcing via Twitter he’d ban transgender people from U.S. military, President Trump made good on his promise in a memo to the Pentagon Friday enacting a ban on their service — although the fate of transgender people currently in the armed forces remains to be seen.

In a memo to the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security dated Aug. 25, Trump asserts the Obama administration “failed to identify a sufficient basis” to end the ban on transgender military service in June 2016 and directs the U.S. military to put the prohibition back in place.

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