Mattis says transgender soldiers can stay — for now

Transgender soldiers can continue to serve in the military while the government determines whether to continue allowing them to do so, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced Tuesday.

President Trump signed a directive on Friday that prevents transgender individuals from joining the military — giving Mattis authority over what to do with those already serving and ordering a study on how transgender soldiers affect military readiness, effectiveness and budget.

“Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of Homeland Security, I will provide my advice to the president concerning of his policy direction. In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place,” Mattis said in a statement.

Last year, a similar Pentagon-commissioned study found that paying healthcare costs for the military’s 1,300–6,600 active transgender soldiers would cost between $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year. Allowing them to serve would not affect military readiness, the study found.

That study took six months.

Trump’s directive also tells the Department of Defense to halt sex-reassignment procedures for military personnel except in cases where it is necessary to “protect their health.”

The new policy goes into effect on Jan 1, 2018.


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