Defense Department issues guidelines on transgenders in the military

The Defense Department recently issued an interim guidance on transgender people in the military following a presidential memorandum, the Department of Defense said in a release.

“First and foremost, we will continue to treat every service member with dignity and respect,” the interim guidance reads, the release said.

The unofficial guidelines, issued by Defense Secretary James Mattis, state that the rule that bars the addition of transgender people into the military will be in effect, since being transgender will be viewed as having gender dysphoria, a condition which does not meet the military's medical requirements, the release said. Also, those who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria while in the military may be treated for the condition, but will not be allowed to receive sex reassignment surgery. Military members who have changed their sex will still be able to serve "in their preferred gender while the interim guidance is in effect," the release said.

The guidance will remain in effect until no later than Feb. 21, 2018, which is when Mattis will present a more permanent set of guidelines for transgender military members to the president, the release said.

“To comply with the presidential memorandum, ensure the continued combat readiness of the force and (to) maximize flexibility in the development of the implementation plan, the … interim guidance … will remain in effect until I promulgate DoD’s final policy in this matter,” Mattis wrote in the memorandum, the release said.

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