The Pentagon told CNN on Monday that the first transgender person has signed a contract to join the U.S. military, an announcement that comes as President Donald Trump is mulling whether to block trans recruits from joining the military.
Trump tweeted last summer that the U.S. “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” a statement that was then made official in a memo published by the executive office last August. It said that the Obama administration “failed to [ascertain that transgender military service] would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources.”
Six different courts have since ruled that Trump’s proposed ban on transgender recruits serving in the military is discriminatory.
On Friday, [Defense Secretary James] Mattis presented his recommendations to the President regarding the future of transgender service members.
“We are waiting for the President to make a decision based on the Secretary’s recommendation,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters Monday. [...] “This is a complex issue. And the secretary is taking his time to consider the information he’s been given. It’s an important issue, and again, he sees all of his decisions through the lens of lethality,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters last week.
While the Department of Defense ostensibly began allowing trans applicants to enlist on January 1, some trans recruits have reportedly been turned away by branches of the uniformed services “simply for being transgender.” In early January, a young man says two Air Force recruiters turned him away.