Donald Trump extends transgender military ban 'indefinitely'

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Donald Trump has ordered an indefinite ban on transgender people joining the US military.

However, US defence secretary Jim Mattis said those already serving would have “no action taken against them” unless it was ordered by Pentagon chief.

The Obama administration changed the long-standing policy in June 2016, declaring that troops could serve openly as transgender individuals, and set a July 2017 deadline for determining whether transgender people could be allowed to enter the military.

Mr Mattis had pushed back the decision until January 1 next year but Mr Trump has now instructed him to extend it indefinitely.

A White House official would not say whether Mr Trump would permit any exceptions.

The official said Mr Mattis has been directed to take a number of factors into consideration in determining how to deal with transgender individuals already serving.

Those factors are to include broad measures such as “military effectiveness”, budgets and “unit cohesion”, as well as other factors Mr Mattis deems “relevant”.

Mr Trump meeting members of the US Navy and shipyard workers in March (Getty Images)

It was not clear whether that means it is possible for Mr Mattis to come to the conclusion that some transgender troops should be allowed to remain.

Mr Trump gave Mr Mattis six months to come up with a policy on those currently serving, and he must implement it by March 23 next year, the official said. 

In a tweet last month, Mr Trump said the government “will not accept or allow” transgender individuals to serve “in any capacity” in the military.

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