President Donald Trump is banning transgender people from serving in the United States military.
The president made the announcement Wednesday on Twitter. He wrote that he discussed the issue with generals and military experts. He said he then decided that the government, in his words, “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
“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,” he wrote.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis is a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department. He declined to say whether transgender people already serving in the military would be removed. He also declined to say whether Trump’s tweets mean a change in policy.
Davis told the Associated Press, “Call the White House.”
The AP reported that about 250 military service members are in the process of changing gender. Trump’s announcement did not say what would happen to these service members.
The U.S. Department of Defense has not released the number of transgender people currently serving in the military. But a RAND Corporation study says that between 1,300 to nearly 7,000 transgender people are currently active in the services.
Transgender people have been able to serve openly in the military since last year. That was when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. The new policy was to go into effect fully on July 1. However, in June Defense Secretary James Mattis said the department would delay Carter's order in order to examine its possible effect.
Matt Thorn is head of OutServe-SLDN, an organization representing the LGBT population in the military. He said thousands of transgender people have served in the U.S. military without any issues.
Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, director of the Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project, said Trump’s decision “is harming lives for the sake of political gains.”
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on VOA News and the Associated Press reports. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
allow - v. permit
focus - v. direct your attention and effort
overwhelming - adj. very great in number, effect or force
burden - v. to make (someone) carry something heavy or deal with something difficult
tremendous - adj. very large or great
disruption - n. cause that interrupts normal progress or activity
entail - v. to have as a part of
LGBT - stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender