(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a series of tweets Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump announced that his administration will no longer permit transgender Americans to serve in the military.
"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."
Trump, who during his presidential campaign labeled himself a "friend" to the LGBTQ community, continued on to declare that "our 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. Thank you."
This decision reverses the year-old Obama-era policy, issued by former defense secretary Ashton Carter, that allowed transgender citizens to join the military as well as undergo gender reassignment surgery during their service. But Trump's Defense Secretary, James Mattis, recently decided to delay the recruitment of openly transgender personnel for six months. With the new policy, that delay has become effectively permanent for as long as Trump is president.
The fate of the approximately 2450 trans Americans who are already members of the military is currently unknown.
Transgender Israelis serve proudly in the Israel Defense Forces, sans legal limitation. "The main issue is that it's not really an issue," said Brigadier General Rachel Tevet-Weisel, the Women's Affairs Advisor to the IDF Chief of Staff, who is responsible for LGBT policy-making.
The first openly trans officer in the IDF, Shachar Erez, made headlines in 2015 with his empowering story. More recently, he ascended to the rank of captain. "My personal journey is not only mine, and this achievement is first of all dedicated to my commanders, and to all the people who stood by me and supported me," he told the Jerusalem Post.
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