Pentagon says transgender troops can continue to serve in military

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Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has signed onto a new bill that would block efforts by President Donald Trump to discharge or prevent the re-enlistment of transgender persons now serving in the armed forces.

GLAAD - the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation - called President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the United States military "a direct attack on transgender Americans".

Members of Congress have already sent a letter to Trump calling on him to reconsider the ban.

John McCain ― the most powerful GOP member of the Senate Armed Services Committee ― has joined a group of other legislators trying to thwart a ban on trans service members.

The Pentagon on Friday said that it will allow transgender troops now serving in the USA military to re-enlist as it studies the issue.

But the new memo also lays out additional details about the membership of the panel, which will consist of military department under secretaries, service vice chiefs and service senior enlisted advisers.

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McCain previously announced his opposition to Trump's prohibition.

Last month, Trump signed a memorandum that directed the military not to accept transgender men and women as recruits. But Trump also gave Mattis six months to come up with a policy on how to address those now serving, leaving the door open to permitting their continued service. That evaluation led to a 2016 directive that ended a prior ban on the open service of transgender people. The Pentagon refused to release the memo, but provided a summary.

Transgender troops' active duty status will remain unchanged until at least February 21, 2018, when the Pentagon will consider recommendations made by the panel.

Any member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serve-including those who are transgender. Sen.

"Current transgender members will continue to serve throughout the military and continue to receive necessary medical treatment as prescribed by their medical provider", Pentagon spokesperson Col. Rob Manning told reporters Friday. Under Obama past year, the Pentagon ended its ban on transgender people serving openly, calling the prohibition outdated. Mattis delayed any decision on enlistments until January 1, 2018.

"Our armed forces should welcome the service of any qualified individual who is willing and capable of serving our country", Collins said in a statement.

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