On Friday the Pentagon released guidance that transgender service members currently serving will be allowed to re-enlist as the study of how to implement Trumps ban proceeds.
Friday's memo also announced that the deputy defense secretary and the vice chair of the Joint Chiefs would lead the panel, which may include "outside experts," which will study implementation of the ban.
According to the Pentagon, Mattis made clear in his memo that the current policies on transgender troops remain in effect. He said transgender individuals can continue to serve in the military and continue to receive any required medical care.
The guidance will remain in effect until February 21, 2018.
The issue raises a number of thorny legal questions, such as whether the Pentagon can say in 2016 that transgender individuals can serve openly and then a year later threaten to throw out anyone who came out publicly.
Senators Kirstin Gillibrand and Susan Collins had planned to offer the measure protecting transgender troops as an amendment to the annual defense policy bill the Senate has been considering over the last several days. But she said the Senate’s Republican leadership “cut off debate” and blocked the amendment from getting a vote.
Thousands of brave transgender Americans love our country enough to risk their lives for it, fight for it, and even die for it, and Congress should honor them and let them serve.