Joint Chiefs Say There Will Be No Change to Transgender Policy

Despite the president’s tweets, they say “no modifications” will take place—yet.

Ron Sachs/ZUMA

In a message to commanding military officers Thursday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said there will be “no modifications” in the military’s policy allowing transgender people to serve in the military until the president issues specific direction to the secretary of defense. Until then, General Joseph Dunford said, officers will continue to “treat all personnel with respect.”

“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” the letter read.

The letter comes a day after President Donald Trump declared through his Twitter account that he could no longer “allow” the army to permit transgender individuals in military service in any capacity, questioning the burden of “the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [soldiers] in the military would entail.” The Department of Defense was reportedly blindsided by the announcement, which reverses the Pentagon’s decision last year to lift the long-standing ban. 

Trump’s tweets sparked widespread condemnation from civil rights groups and Democratic lawmakers. The president has repeatedly boasted of being a friend to the LGBT community and vowed to champion their rights.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate