Transgender People Can Enlist in the Military as of January 1st

Posted: Dec 11, 2017 2:55 PM

A judge has ruled that transgender military recruits will be accepted as of January 1st, despite objections by the Trump administration. 

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on Monday that its previous decision, which allowed for transgender people to enlist in the military, would stand.

The military can still prohibit recruits with gender dysphoria or gender reconstruction surgery. However, people who have been "clinically stable" in their "preferred sex" for a year and a half will be allowed to join the military with a certification from a doctor. 

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. David Eastburn said that the Department of Defense will continue to look at this new policy. 

From the Associated Press:

Maj. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, says the enlistment of transgender recruits will start Jan. 1 and go on amid the legal battles. The Defense Department also is studying the issue.

Eastburn told The Associated Press on Monday that the new guidelines mean the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits with gender dysphoria, a history of medical treatments associated with gender transition and those who underwent reconstruction. But such recruits are allowed in if a medical provider certifies they’ve been clinically stable in the preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas.

The battle over potential transgender members of the military has gone on for over a year. Former President Barack Obama lifted the blanket ban in June of 2016, but any implementation was delayed. Trump tweeted in July of 2017 that there would be no transgender military members, period. Back in August, Trump signed a memo that banned openly transgender people from serving in the military.