US President Donald Trump has signed a memorandum that bans the US military from accepting transgender individuals as recruits and halts the use of government funds for sex-reassignment surgeries for active personnel unless the process is already under way.
The memo, which was released by the White House on Friday, reverses a policy shift started under former President Barack Obama.
In the memorandum, Trump directed the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security to stop using government funds for sex-reassignment procedures unless it is necessary “to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex”.
The order requires Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to determine in the coming months how to handle transgender individuals currently serving in the military using criteria including “military effectiveness and lethality,” budget constraints and law.
Matis is expected to submit his plan on how to implement the changes by February 21, 2018.
A White House official who briefed reporters about the memo declined to specify whether transgender individuals who are currently active in the military could continue to serve based on such criteria.
The official said Trump decided the Obama administration had not identified a sufficient basis for changing what was then long-standing policy on transgender troops.