Russian state media outlet Sputnik News has mocked the U.S. military for allowing transgender individuals to enlist.
On Monday, as news broke of the lifting of restrictions on transgender recruits, Sputnik News mocked the United States with a headline referring to the new enlistees as “Tranny Troops.”
“Following a capitulation by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to a federal court ruling overturning a Trump attempt to ban transgender US military recruits, American soldiers will now comprise a much wider spectrum of humanity,” Sputnik wrote in its lead.
Since July 2016, the U.S. military has allowed transgender people who were already serving to continue to do so without fear of being forcibly discharged. On Monday, the Pentagon lifted the last barrier to transgender service by allowing prospective recruits to enlist in the various service branches, regardless of their gender identity.
The Trump administration had sought a court order to delay the deadline by which transgender individuals were to begin being accepted. But after experiencing several setbacks in court, the Trump administration eventually dropped its request for a delay, allowing the Pentagon to put in place procedures that will allow the Armed Forces to accommodate transgender individuals
One commenter on the Sputnik article called U.S. soliders “fags,” and another wrote: “Should be hilarious. Move over Police Academy, Tranny Academy is coming to a cinema near you.”
Under guidelines proposed by the Obama administration for accepting transgender enlistees, a transgender individual can sign up for service so long as they meet all other eligibility requirements, have completed any treatment deemed medically necessary for their transition, and have been “stable in their identified gender,” as confirmed by their personal physician, for at least 18 months.
Despite allowing transgender people to enlist, the Trump administration continues to push for a ban on all active-duty transgender military personnel, which is slated to take effect in March 2018.
Thus far, the administration has been sued four separate times over its plans to institute such a ban. In each case, federal judges have issued injunctions preventing the Pentagon from attempting to enforce a ban until the lawsuits are permanently resolved.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs in all four cases argue that any ban based on a person’s transgender status, rather than their ability to do their job, is unconstitutional and discriminatory. They hope that the courts will rule President Trump’s ban unlawful and permanently overturn it.
Jennifer Levi, the director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, which is representing plaintiffs in D.C. and California in two of the pending lawsuits, hailed the admission of out transgender recruits as an “historic and proud moment for our country.”
“We are stronger when the military reflects all of who we are as a nation,” Levi said in a statement. “Our nation will only benefit from the service of these courageous individuals. We know this fight is not over. But having transgender people be allowed to openly enlist in the military marks a huge development and hopefully the beginning of the end of this baseless ban.”