President Donald Trump signed an official guidance last Friday that prohibits transgender individuals from serving in the United States military.
Reversing a policy that was first announced during the Obama administration, the guidance has garnered much controversy and, on Monday, a lawsuit.
Here are five things to know about the new guidance, including the military's hesitations about the Obama policy, other things banned by the guidance, and the lawsuit filed in response.
Obama Era Policy Implementation Was Delayed Per Request of Military
Before Trump announced his plan to reverse the implementation of the Obama era policy to allow for transgenders to serve openly in the military, the nation's Armed Forces requested and received a delay in said implementation.
Top generals requested a delay in that policy, which was approved by Secretary of Defense James Mattis on June 30. The new deadline was set for Jan. 1, 2018.
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Paul Selva told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month that the new measures could have "unintended consequences."
"Our decision to delay the accessions of transgender individuals into the services was largely based on a disagreement on the science of how mental health care and hormone therapy for transgender individuals would help solve their medical issues that are associated with gender dysphoria," said Gen. Selva.
Trump First Announced Plans to Implement Ban in July
Trump announced the ban in a series of tweets posted on July 26. The social media postings stated that military leadership supported the ban.
"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," tweeted Trump.
"[Our military] cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."
Soon after the tweets, U.S. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent a message to military leadership clarifying that Trump's Twitter posts do not change their current policies.
"I know there are questions about yesterday's announcement on the transgender policy by the President," stated Gen. Dunford, as reported by Politico.
"There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance."
The Service Ban Also Includes a Ban on Funding Sex Change Operations
In addition to banning transgender service members from the military, Trump's guidance memorandum also prohibits the Department of Defense from funding sex change operations for transgender personnel.
"The Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the U.S. Coast Guard, shall ... halt all use of DoD or DHS resources to fund sex reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel, except to the extent necessary to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex," stated the memorandum.
This measure will not take effect until March 23, 2018, or after the general ban on transgender service members takes effect.
The Fate of Current Transgender Military Personnel is Unknown
The memorandum on transgender service members does not address the status of transgender individuals currently serving in the Armed Forces.
Rather, the guidance calls upon the Department of Defense to investigate the matter further before offering up an answer.
"As part of the implementation plan, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military," noted the memo.
"Until the Secretary has made that determination, no action may be taken against such individuals under the policy set forth in section 1(b) of this memorandum."
ACLU Filed a Lawsuit Against the Guidance Before it Takes Effect
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in district court on Monday morning against the Trump Administration over the recent guidance.
The ACLU is representing five current United States Armed Forces personnel who identify as transgender.
"The Individual Plaintiffs and other transgender service members face immediate and irreparable harm as a result of the Transgender Service Member Ban," explained the lawsuit.
"Each Individual Plaintiff and other transgender service members suddenly face the reality that, despite their years of commitment and training, their careers will prematurely end and various benefits will be permanently unavailable."