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Jim Mattis: Transgender troops to continue serving pending study

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Later, at a media event, Secretary of Defense James Mattis was asked about the tweet and didn't seem pleased.

Critics of the ban pounced on the fact that transgender troops will be able to stay in uniform for the time being: "In the interim, current policy with respect to now serving members will remain in place".

Serving trans members will remain in place for a little while yet.

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Legal director Shannon Minter of the National Center of Lesbian Rights has asserted that Mattis' latest announcement was only misdirection. So what's the truth?

Trump's attack on transgender and gay military personnel is partly thwarted by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Honestly, nothing new has happened.

Mattis says he's delaying implementation of the order until military experts weigh in on the issue since most experts agree that the ban would be a bad idea.

He said he would create a panel of experts that would include members of the departments of Defence and Homeland Security "to provide advice and recommendations" on the implementation of the measure, TIME magazine reported. However, military bosses have revealed their reluctance to support the United States leader, arguing that transgender soldiers pose little or no adverse effect on army cohesion and effectiveness.

While some are hailing Mattis as a hero for not beginning the ban immediately, a look at President Donald Trump's August 25 memo shows that he is doing exactly what he was ordered to do. It continued, "Mattis did not reverse Trump or defy him on the broader ban against new recruits who are transgender people". There is nothing new at all here, and suggesting otherwise is terribly misleading.

According to USA Today, Mattis is allowing now serving transgender troops to stay in the military until he receives the results of a study. "The implementation plan will address accessions of transgender individuals and transgender individuals now serving in the United States military". The ban is scheduled to go into effect on March 23, 2018. That appalling decision is not (and can not possibly be, given its timing) based on any hastily assembled, post hoc "study" that is being cooked up now in a transparent effort to provide a retroactive fig leaf for the President's bigotry. The Slate report also quoted Chase Strangio, an ACLU attorney, saying that Mattis' "statements do not change the directive nor has he been given the power to retain transgender service members indefinitely". The notion that there is any good faith "study" being conducted is a blatant pretext for unmitigated, vicious, baseless discrimination.