Trump surprised the Pentagon's leadership in a 2017 tweet when he declared he would reverse an Obama-era plan to allow transgender individuals to serve openly.
Trump's new policy recommendation is based on a memo written by Defense Secretary James Mattis, who said last month that the presence of transgender troops "could undermine readiness, disrupt unit cohesion, and impose an unreasonable burden on the military that is not conducive to military effectiveness and lethality". On March 23, Donald Trump said, "Transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria-individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery-are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances".
A similar ban, which reversed a policy shift started under his predecessor, President Barack Obama, has previously been blocked by federal judges in four separate cases, and is now being challenged in court.
Trump's new order allows the defense secretary and the homeland security secretary to "exercise their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military service by transgender individuals".
In a statement, the White House defended the ban as a common-sense way to "apply well-established mental and physical health standards-including those regarding the use of medical drugs-equally to all individuals".
The new memorandum retracts Trump's previous ban, that wouldn't accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in the United States military.
In February, the Pentagon confirmed to CNN that the first transgender person had signed a contract to join the U.S. military following a federal judge's ruling that said the military would have to accept transgender people.More news: Kansas Survives a Late Scare From Clemson to Advance, 80-76
Under the latest guidelines, the Pentagon can disqualify potential recruits unless a medical provider certifies that they have been clinically stable in their preferred sex for 18 months, and are free of significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas.
That was exactly where Donald Trump was headed one day after announcing the new ban on transgender military members.
Mattis recommended that anyone diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the condition of wanting to transition gender, since the Obama administration ended the Pentagon's longtime ban on transgender service in 2016 may continue to serve. The policy also discriminates against all Trans personnel who have undergone top or bottom surgery or taken hormones. The study concluded that allowing transgender troops to serve would have "minimal impact on readiness and health care costs". The Pentagon said on Friday it would continue to comply with current federal law.
"From the first impulsive tweet, this policy has clearly been driven by an extreme anti-LGBTQ agenda rather than what is in the best interests of our troops and national security", said Sarah McBride, national press secretary for Human Rights Campaign.
According to poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, Americans strongly support allowing transgender people to serve in the USA military. They said they would continue to fight the policy in the courts.
The new measures provoked a furious reaction from several civil rights and LGBT groups.