A second transgender individual has enlisted and is under contract to serve in the U.S. military, according to ABC News.
The individual signed a contract with the Navy on Mar. 1, the Department of Defense reveals. The recruit is the second transgender individual to sign a contract after a federal court issued an order allowing out transgender people who otherwise meet the requirements for service to enlist beginning on Jan. 1.
The first recruit signed a contract with an unknown branch of the military on Feb. 23, and is expected to undergo basic training in a few months.
Under the policy currently in place, first proposed by President Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, transgender individuals must have been stable in their gender, as confirmed by a medical professional, for 18 months, in addition to passing the required physical and mental health screenings.
Several courts have been skeptical of a ban proposed by President Trump barring all transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the military, and have issued orders blocking the Pentagon from implementing any ban until the legality of such a ban can be resolved in court.
Advocates for the LGBTQ community, particularly LGBTQ veterans, have argued that the ban is overly broad and unfairly discriminates against a class of people, regardless of their individual abilities to serve. In the meantime, the Obama-era policy currently in place allows transgender military members who began serving prior to coming out to continue doing so, without fear of being forcibly discharged.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has already presented recommendations to President Trump regarding the ability of transgender military members to serve. But the content of those recommendations remains a mystery. Some sources within the Pentagon have told media outlets that they believe Mattis favors allowing transgender troops to serve so long as they demonstrate that they can easily deploy at a moment’s notice, without requiring special accommodations.
President Trump is expected to make a final policy announcement regarding transgender service at the end of March.
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