Local transgender advocate: President Trump’s transgender military policy is a step backwards

Posted at 5:30 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 17:30:33-04

NORFOLK, Va. - A local transgender advocate says President Trump's transgender policy is a step backwards.

President Trump announced his policy late on Friday night, banning most transgender people from serving in the military.

"It's kind of going backwards," said Zain Welsh, a local trans man and advocate at the LGBT Life Center in Norfolk.

Last summer, President Trump tweeted that the military would no longer accept or allow transgender people to serve, reversing an Obama era policy. After months of review, the new policy doesn't go quite that far, but still too far for some. "They want to do their jobs just as much as the next person," Welsh said.

According to a Pentagon memo about the policy, exceptions to the ban include people who have been “stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession,” service members who “do not require a change of gender” and troops who started serving under the Obama administration’s policy prior to the new memo.

In a statement, the White House said transgender people need substantial medical treatment and that "presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality." The deputy press secretary didn't answer any questions about the policy on Monday.

Legal challenges are expected. The Pentagon has previously said it would follow the courts during the process, which so far has meant allowing transgender people to continue to serve.