Just days after President Trump signed a memo barring transgender people from enlisting in the military, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced Tuesday that transgender troops in the military would be allowed to continue serving pending the results of a study.
“Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of Homeland Security, I will provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction,” Mattis said in the statement Tuesday.
“In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place.”
Trump announced via Twitter last month that he would reinstate a ban on transgender military service that was lifted in 2016 under former President Barack Obama.
“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,” Trump tweeted at the time.
“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.”
A Rand Corp. study commissioned last year estimated that there are between 1,320 and 1,600 transgender people serving openly in the U.S. military.