WASHINGTON — Transgender individuals could be kicked out of the military and banned from enlisting under a policy change announced by President Donald Trump on Twitter Wednesday morning.
Trump appeared to completely reverse policy put in place last year by President Barack Obama that allows open service of transgender individuals and funding for gender reassignment surgery.
This announcement came as a shock to the “vast majority” of Pentagon leaders who had no idea the policy change was coming, a government official said.
The Pentagon was working feverishly Wednesday morning to determine what the tweets mean for service members and determine the way ahead. For example, what sort of guidance should be provided to unit-level commanders regarding the men and women under their responsibility? Does a tweet make policy, or does it need to be further codified before the policy can be enacted, such as officially recording it in the Federal Register?
And potentially most importantly, what does the policy mean for the thousands of transgender men and women service members already serving who have identified themselves in the months since the Obama administration welcomed them to serve openly?