The United States will not allow transgender people to serve in the military “in any capacity,” President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday, reversing a change that was made during the Obama administration.
The change was announced unexpectedly on Wednesday morning, when Trump sent out a series of tweets.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” the president said.
Trump added: “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
It was not immediately clear when the ban would take effect or whether transgender service members who are currently serving would be discharged.
The announcement comes just over a year after the Department of Defense lifted long-standing rules that prevented transgender people from serving openly in the military. At the time, the department estimated that at least 7,000 transgender people were serving in the military.
During his campaign for president, Trump had voiced support for transgender people. “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” he said in a tweet in June 2016.
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