United States President Donald Trump wants transgender people barred from serving in the US military “in any capacity,” citing “tremendous medical costs and disruption”.
Trump’s announcement on Twitter would reverse the effort under President Barack Obama to open the armed services to transgender people. He did not say what would happen to transgender troops already in the military.
The president tweeted that he was making his announcement after consulting with “generals and military experts,” but he did not name any.
He said the 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.”
The White House did not respond to questions.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, referred questions to the White House.
In a brief written statement, Davis said the Pentagon is working with the White House to “address” what he called “the new guidance” from the president.
Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defence Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban.
Since last October 1, they have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.
Already, there are as many as 250 service members in the process of transitioning to their preferred genders.
Trump’s decision drew swift outrage from LGBT groups and supporters.
Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the tweet was “another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter”.
“Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving,” McCain said.
“There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military-regardless of their gender identity.”
He said there should be no policy changes until the current review is completed and assessed by the secretary of defence, military leaders and Congress. AP