Everything you need to know about Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people in the US military

Donald Trump has announced that transgender people will not be permitted to serve in the United States military “in any capacity”.

In a series of frank tweets, the US president said: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government 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.”

The revelation sparked concerns that transgender people currently serving in the American armed forces could be summarily dismissed from duty, if a total ban was enforced.

What are the present rules?

 FILE - In this July 10, 2017, file photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis waits before an honor cordon at the Pentagon. The Trump administration is still sorting out “the big ideas” for a new Afghanistan strategy, beyond troop levels and other military details, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday, July 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Defence secretary Jim Mattis waits before an honour cordon at the Pentagon (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/PA)

Transgender people have been allowed to serve openly in the US military since last year, when the former US defence secretary Ash Carter ended a ban which was in place at the time.

Since October, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.

Military chiefs had since announced a delay on allowing transgender people to enlist, but the president’s tweets on Wednesday suggested a new approach could soon be enforced.

How many people could be affected?

The US Army Drill Team at Earls Court, London who will part of the British Military Tournament that is held at the venue from tomorrow - 2011

A US Army Drill Team at London’s Earls Court in 2011 (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Announcing his decision to overturn limitations on transgender people serving in the armed forces last year, Ash Carter said no definitive numbers of transgender people serving in the military existed, but cited a survey by the RAND Corporation, who estimated that as many as 2,500 transgender people were on active duty, with as further 1,500 on reserve.

According to several defence officials, there are as many as 250 service members in the process of transitioning to their preferred genders or who have been approved to formally change gender within the Pentagon’s personnel system.

But Carter also gave the armed services until July 1 to develop policies to allow people already identifying as transgender to join the military, providing they meet physical and medical standards, and have been stable in their identified genders for 18 months.

What does this mean for transgender people in the military?

President Donald Trump waves as he addresses the scouts at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean, W.Va., Monday, July 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Donald Trump at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the summit (Steve Helber/AP/PA)

The tweets gave no clue as to what may happen for those already serving in the military, but the decisive tone of Trump’s message suggested that all transgender people, whether serving or not, would not be allowed to proceed with their roles.

At this stage further legislation will need to be passed to cement any overhaul in policy since last year, but the news will be unwelcome for many hoping for a more liberal attitude towards transgender rights.

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