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.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


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.


Support our journalism

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


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.