World

Trump bans transgenders from military

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump announced yesterday that transgender people may not serve "in any capacity" in the US military, citing the "tremendous medical costs and disruption" their presence would cause.

Last month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis delayed for six months a plan put in place under Mr Barack Obama's administration to start accepting transgender recruits.

An estimated 2,500 to 7,000 transgender people are among the 1.3 million active duty service members.

"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 US Military," Mr Trump tweeted.

"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."

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

Transgender rights in America have been increasingly in the spotlight, especially over how states regulate the use of public restrooms.

The Trump administration faced protests earlier this year after it reversed the Obama-era federal protections that urged schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity, not the gender on their birth certificates.

Perhaps the most famous transgender US soldier is former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who served seven years in prison for one of the largest dumps of classified documents in US history. Ms Manning, who served as Bradley Manning, was initially sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for leaking more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks three years earlier.

She twice tried to take her own life last year alone, before then-president Obama commuted her sentence just days before he left office in January. Ms Manning was freed in May. - AFP

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