Defense Secretary James Mattis issued new guidance on Friday instructing military leaders to allow transgender people currently serving in the US armed forces to re-enlist as the Pentagon weighs how to enforce President Trump’s broader ban on their service, reported the AP.
In a memo to military leaders, Mattis said that his department would convene a high-level panel led the deputy Defense secretary and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to determine how to enact Trump’s transgender military ban.
Transgender service members can continue to serve and receive medical care, for now, Mattis said in the memo.
In July, Trump tweeted that “after consultation with my Generals and military experts,” he had decided the U.S. government would “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. Thank you,” he tweeted.
His Twitter announcement drew sharp criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, and prompted confusion at the Pentagon.