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Military Chiefs Ask for Hold on Transgender Enlistment

Military heads are seeking a six-month delay before letting transgender people enlist in their services, officials said Friday.

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After meetings that were held this week, service leaders came to the 6 month agreement after rejecting a request by the Army and Air Force that asked for a two year delay. According to The Associated Press, the chiefs were concerned that a two-year delay would draw criticism on Capitol Hill.

The new request or the delay will go to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for a final decision according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter had originally given them until July 1st to develop new policies to allow transgender people to join the military if they had been stable in their identified gender for a period of 18 months. The military chiefs claim they need more time to study the issue and its effects on the readiness of the force before taking that step.

Sources say the Navy officials suggested they would be ready by the July 1st deadline, but asked for a delay to accommodate the Marine Corps who are also overseen by the Navy Secretary. The chiefs believe the extra six months will give the four military services time to gauge if currently serving transgender troops are facing problems and what necessary changes the military bases might have to make. The Military leaders also want to review how transgender troops are treated, to see if they’re discriminated against or have had disciplinary problems, the officials said.

According to the Pentagon there are currently 250 service members who are in the process of gender transition while there are as many as 7,000 transgender troops serving in active-duty while up to 4,000 are in the reserves. They delay will have no impact on members who are currently serving.

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